The path of customer acquisition, servicing and long-term relationship is often called the Customer Journey. The route can be highly varied, dictated by the wants and needs of the individual and the various ways in which a business can interact. Businesses can see that at certain points along that purchasing pathway, customers make critical decisions whether to stay on the path, or turn away towards another more attractive destination. These decision points in the journey are called Moments of Truth.
The First Moment of Truth or FMOT is a term that was coined by consumer goods package behemoth Procter & Gamble in 2005 to define the first interaction between a shopper and a product on a store’s shelf. This moment was considered one of the most important marketing opportunities for a brand based on the popular belief that consumers make up their mind about a product in the first few seconds after the encounter with that product for the first time.
Now let’s fast forward to 2012.
The explosion of social media, portability and affordability of mobile devices, and an increasing number of platforms to consume and contribute reviews have dramatically changed how we decide to buy, to rent, to dine…the list goes on and on. “Caveat emptor” is no longer a word to the wise – it’s the evolutionary law of the market, taking us beyond the Information Age and into the Age of the Consumer. Today’s consumers are digital explorers, seeking out online ratings, social-media-based peer reviews, videos –any and all digitally provided information that will aid in the decision-making process. width="300" caption="Source: Google"]
Google has termed this online decision-making moment the Zero Moment of Truth or ZMOT. This extension of P&G’s FMOT concept is fitting for today’s digital consumer, since active research and initial opinion about products and businesses online often happen well before the first physical encounter.
In today’s digital world, you don’t have a chance to impress prospective customers with primary shelf placement, catchy designs or splashy offers; box illustrations will go unnoticed until far later in the decision-making process. Today’s consumer is checking your Yelp and Google Place pages for feedback from strangers. Jaded by slick marketing, they are putting their faith in the independent opinions of their peers.
To market effectively, you’ve got to double down on your business. Understand that a smart loss leader may not be a special rate, but rather an investment in providing a special service that gets you recognized and lauded by your customers – ideally in a very public way online.
Embracing this new way of doing business means understanding the critical Moments of Truth in your customer’s journey and managing those touchpoints to create extraordinary experiences. You must strive to manage experience in a way that creates excellence throughout the journey, including those Moments of Truth well after prospects have become customers. It is at these touchpoints that customers will decide whether they will advocate on your behalf, and create the Zero Moment of Truth for your next customers.
The Truth of your customer relationships will be reflected online in our digital world, whether you want it to or not. On what basis will your products and services be judged? The Truth of your brand is defined by experiences that you create and manage; memorable moments of exceptional service, found at every touchpoint throughout the journey.