A customer journey is composed of many touchpoints. These points vary in importance, but the most integral ones are known as moments of truth, which Conduit has defined as the points in a relationship with a customer where a business has the opportunity to earn his or her true loyalty through engagement. Although it's important that companies work to improve their customer experiences as a whole, defining their moments of truth and working to improve them specifically can result in major improvements to customer journeys.
The idea of “moments of truth” began in 2005 with A.G. Lafley, Chairman, President, and CEO of Procter & Gamble, and initially outlined two moments. Since then, the moments of truth have expanded to accommodate the modern customer journey, which has rapidly changed through digital customer experiences and the rise of smart devices. Today, up to five different types of moments of truth can be identified in the customer journey.
Although companies don't necessarily consider every one of these moments, we're talking about them here to help you understand the broad scope and effects of these moments when it comes to the unique customer experience offered by your brand.
Less Than Zero Moment of Truth (<ZMOT)
One of the most recent additions to the scope of moments of truth, the Less Than Zero Moment of Truth was coined by Eventricity and is designed to look at the absolute earliest instance of a potential customer beginning their journey and interacting with a brand. At this moment, something has happened in the life of a customer to become interested in a product or service. While their research into a product is seen in the Zero Moment of Truth, the Less Than Zero Moment happens before this research even begins. In this moment, a company can actively reach out to a customer via social media, email marketing, advertisements, and more before the customer even comes to them for more information. Although this requires advanced targeting and monitoring of customer activities, this proactive strategy can decrease the likelihood of an audience member choosing a competitor.
Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT)
The idea of a Zero Moment of Truth is a more recent addition to the concept as well. ZMOT was introduced by Google in order to match the modern online customer journey and concerns the moment a person begins searching for information regarding a product or service that he or she is interested in. At this time, a customer will encounter reviews and more information about the product before moving forward in the journey. While companies will not be able to control all online reviews, they can positively influence their online reputation through their interactions with the audience and the quality of the product, which will lead to good reviews that can encourage people to continue their journey with the brand.
First Moment of Truth (FMOT)
The FMOT, as first defined by Procter & Gamble, is centered on when a potential customer encounters your product or service for the first time. Commonly, the FMOT only lasts for a few seconds and can include the customer reading a description or hearing a pitch from a representative in order to better understand how the product may serve his or her needs. This immediate impression hinges on good presentation and the ability to clearly show how the product will fulfill the needs of the audience. This brief moment will have a major impact on whether a person will move forward with learning more about what your company offers.
Second Moment of Truth (SMOT)
After first seeing the product, the audience will move on to the Second Moment of Truth. Here, the customer truly experiences what your company is offering. This can occur before purchasing the product, such as experiencing a hands-on demonstration of a new phone, but may also happen after a purchase, which occurs frequently in the modern age of online shopping where a customer does not truly experience the product until after it arrives. While a SMOT that occurs before purchase will have a greater influence on whether a customer will pay for a service or product, a SMOT that happens afterward will still have a major impact on their satisfaction and continuing relationship with a brand, which can affect reputation and audience reach.
Ultimate Moment of Truth (UMOT)
Also known as the Third Moment of Truth, the UMOT is centered on feedback from customers concerning the product. While not an original part of the moments of truth, this third moment was added by Procter & Gamble soon after the first two were defined. The product’s ability to fulfill the needs of the customer, as well as the company’s efforts to provide an enjoyable experience along the way to purchasing it, will shape the audience’s emotional response to what they have received. During the UMOT, a customer may choose to share their opinions on the service with the company that provided it, write a review online, and give their opinions to family, friends, and colleagues. These takeaways will influence whether they become a return customer—which is why this moment is known as the Ultimate Moment because it may become the Zero Moment of Truth for other people in the future.
Improving Moments of Truth for Great Customer Journeys
While it is important to understand these types of moments of truth, these will be different for every company. Each can take place at different times along the customer journey depending on the company and some will have a greater impact on an audience’s perceptions of a brand. Businesses should work to find these unique moments of truth within their customer journey but also employ strategies to improve their moments in ways that have clear, meaningful benefits for their marketing efforts and customer service.
Read about how to effectively find your own company’s moments of truth in the second half of our two-part blog series or learn more about how Liferay's personalization capabilities can help you target prospects at moments of truth more effectively.