The moment of truth is defined as a particular moment when a user or a customer changes or forms an impression about a service, product or brand after an interaction or contact with it. This is also described as an opportunity to change the perception of the firm.
The moments of truth are considered an essential aspect of business dealings because if the experience is positive, then the brand has gained a loyal customer.
A customer interacts with a brand numerous times and forms an impression that might be positive or negative depending upon the circumstances. The aim of a brand is obviously to ensure that the impact is positive on the user. During the customer’s journey, some key event might happen that helps him to change his opinion about a brand, its product or service. This is described as a moment of truth or MOT.
The moment of truth matters a great deal because the consumer market is full of numerous products that are mostly similar in most ways. The brand and its products can differentiate themselves based on the service they provide. In this competitive market, every rival brand is in a rush to fill a gap if it exists in the market and so the importance of the moment of truth becomes greater.
The fact is that if a customer is delighted after his interaction, then it means that the outcome was positive. In such circumstances, he will stay with the brand he was impressed with and not turn to another brand.
Types of moments of truth
In a customer’s journey, he comes face to face with several moments of truth that have a direct impact on his purchasing habit. Some of them are as follows-
1. Zero moments of truth or ZMOT
The consumer generally researches a brand, product or service in the online market to decide so that he can make a purchase or reject that product. This is the first point of contact, and the interaction happens before a consumer makes a purchase and is known as zero moments of truth.
The concept of ZMOT has been introduced to the world by Google and describes the point when the online customer starts searching for information about a service, product or brand of his interests. The customers visit reviews and feedback before moving forward.
2. The first moment of truth or FMOT
The first moment of truth is described as the first few seconds when the customer chooses one product over another from a rival brand. It is the first time that the customer comes into contact with that brand, and this can be both offline or online.
These first seconds are very precious as they create impressions and can turn a browser into a buyer. The concept of the first moment of truth was introduced by Procter & Gamble and emphasized the brief moment when the presentation and information have a more profound impact on a person.
3. The second moment of truth or SMOT
The customer has now purchased the product or service and has used it for the first time. This is when the second moment of truth occurs as the customer gets a hands-on demonstration of the product or service. It tells him the reality of his decision and whether the outcome has been as per his perception.
There can be several second moments of truth because every time the consumer uses the product, he continues to form his opinions. The second moment of truth is critical as it decides whether the customer will keep on associating with the brand or will move away and choose another over it.
This has a direct impact on brand reputation and customer reach.
4. The third moment of truth or TMOT or ultimate moment of truth or UMOT
The reaction of a consumer towards a brand or a product or service through consumer feedback is often considered as the Third moment of truth. Will, the consumer, now become a brand advocate and give back the brand word-of-mouth publicity, is dependent upon this third moment of truth.
It is generally the stage when the user starts sharing his experiences with others and can create several other zero moments of truth for the brand. This moment of truth was added by Procter & Gamble and dealt with the product’s ability to fulfill the needs of a customer.
This experience helps to shape the customer’s emotional response towards the brand and nudges him to write and share his opinion with others. Will he become a return customer and influence others is a million-dollar question that depends on a customer’s experience at this stage.
5. The actual moment of truth or AMOT
The actual moment of truth is used to describe the experience gap that occurs when the consumer has purchased a product in the online market but has not yet received it.
Potential outcomes of moments of truth
There are two potential outcomes of the moment of truth, and these are
1. Magical moments
A magical moment of truth is one when the brand can meet the expectation of the customer in full and in most cases, can exceed them. The brand does not have to make grand gestures because sweet gestures that are unexpected have the same ability to move a person.
It helps in creating a regular and loyal customer base that is very rare in today’s competitive times.
2. Miserable moments
No one likes to think about miserable moments, but they are a reality which the customer often has to face. These not only are awkward and suck but are bad for business. Miserable moments occur when the brand, product or service is unable to meet even the basic expectations of the customer.
There is a good chance that the customer will talk about his miserable moments with friends and family members and thus will make way for bad publicity for the brand. It is essential to explain that in some cases, the miserable moments have turned into magical moments. Sometimes the brand comes to know about them and tries very hard to resolve issues and change the negative impression to positive outcomes.
There is a chance of neutral outcome, but in reality, the chances are meager as either a brand makes an impression on a customer or fails to do so.