The moment of truth – how my customer gets a picture of my company

A moment of truth is the moment when a customer comes into contact with a product, a service or a brand. The customer gets an impression or changes an impression he had before. These are the decisive points during the customer journey when somebody decides for or against us. And these are the moments where we can reach out to our customers and influence their buying decisions. Read the definitions of the four moments of truth here, and find out why these points of contact with our (potential) customers are important.

The concept of moments of truth was first coined in the early 1980s. First of all, three moments of truth were defined, the first of which being when the customer first saw the product in the flesh, for example in a shop. Later, when we had the opportunity to find information about products or services on the internet, the zero moment of truth was added, the moment when somebody begins a search for a product online.

What is a stimulus?

In order to awaken the need for a potential customer to come into contact with my company or product, I first have to get his attention. Classical push marketing can be used for this and the stimulus could be an advert or a banner on the internet, a poster, TV marketing or recommendations.

Let us take Mr Charlie Chair as an example. He is an entrepreneur and for some while, his employees have been complaining about getting a backache from sitting on the old office chairs. His old swivel chair also feels a bit wobbly. On the way to the office, he sees a poster at the roadside advertising an office furniture company and decides to finally take care of new office chairs.

Mr Chair has reacted positively to our stimulus. He has shown interest, recognized a need and has started on the customer journey, during which we have to convince him at all moment of truth points. If we do everything right, we have a good chance of making him a buyer or, even better, making him a regularly buying customer.

The zero moment of truth

The moment where our prospective buyer goes online to research a product is the zero moment of truth. The potential customer has no idea of a supplier yet but begins his search by surfing the net, using search engines, and reading blog articles, product descriptions and reviews.

Here are some figures which show how important the zero moment of truth is:

  • 70 to 90% of the customer journey has been completed before a supplier is contacted
  • 77% of B2B customers do not want to speak with a supplier before they have done some research themselves
Research on the Internet

What helps me to win the zero moment of truth?

If somebody is looking for a product or a service which I offer, I have to be the one they find. When Mr Chair puts “office chairs” into the search engine, he will look at a maximum of 5 to 10 search results. All products and companies which appear further down the list, however good they are, will be ignored. How can I make sure that I am at the top of the search engine list? In order to do this, we mainly use methods of inbound marketing:

  • Provision of high-quality content which is interesting and relevant for the user and is therefore often shared
  • Optimisation of this high-quality content for the search engines
  • Social media presence

Mr Chair has finally taken the time this morning and researched office chairs on the internet. He has looked at functions, prices and delivery conditions.

The first moment of truth

The first moment of truth is the moment when customers decide to buy. They have seen the product in the flesh or virtually in the online shop for the first time and want to have it. At this point, it is important that there are no buying barriers such as complicated registration or distractions. Haven’t we all had that experience? – we decide on a product, have it in our shopping trolley, but then decide against it at the last minute because the registration process is too complicated. Distractions like advertising banners for other products are also dangerous at this point, because they could lead to the customer taking a different route at the last minute and not pressing the “buy” button.

Perhaps the customer suddenly has a very concrete question just before he wants to buy. It is important that he can ask this quickly and easily and gets an answer just as quickly and easily, for example via a selection of FAQs, a chat or a classical telephone call.

shopping trolley, symolizing the decision to buy

What helps me to win the first moment of truth?

  • My customer can complete the buying process quickly and easily without distractions or interruptions
  • My customer can see at first glance all the important information about the product, for example price, availability, delivery times and the most important product data

Our Mr Chair has taken half a morning off and has driven to a specialist shop for office equipment. He is pleased to find that he can test different chairs in the store and can ask qualified staff for advice.

The second moment of truth

The second moment of truth is when the customer has bought a product or a service and has experienced it for himself.

At this point, it is important that the product lives up to its promise and fulfils, or even better exceeds, the customer’s expectations, thus creating a positive experience. Good marketing is no help here, the product must prove its quality in practice. It is important that our product developers, technicians and designers have done a good job and that we haven’t promised things in the marketing process which our product cannot live up to. The expected quality must be fulfilled and the product must be worth its price.

Own experience

What helps me to win the second moment of truth?

  • Simple operating instructions
  • Provision of information which helps the customer to use the product, e.g. How-to videos, FAQs, recipes
  • Social media presence in order to answer customer questions

After sleeping on it for a couple of nights, Mr Chair has ordered new office chairs for himself and his employees. The chairs are delivered on time, are unpacked and put together quickly and the operating instructions are short and simple and explain the functions of the new furniture. The delivery also included a flyer showing height-adjustable desks, which Mr Chair skims with interest.

The third moment of truth

This is the moment when customers, if everything has gone smoothly, are not only satisfied but thrilled with our product and our brand. They now want to share their positive experience with others.

So the third moment of truth influences the zero moment of truth of a customer at the beginning of his customer journey, who has begun to gather information about a product.

Sharing of the own experience

What helps me to win the third moment of truth?

  • Ask customers about satisfaction and ask them to recommend you
  • Be present on social media platforms so that customers can share their positive experiences with others
  • Have a strategy ready to deal with negative reviews

In the next team meeting, all the employees are full of how comfortable the new chairs are. One of them even says that he has ordered a chair for his home from the same company. Mr Chair is also very happy with the delivery and payment processes and has posted a positive review on the supplier’s homepage.

The moments of truth are the important milestones of the customer journey. If you understand what prospective buyers, buyers and customers want and need at these points, you will be able to win these moments for your company, make your customers enthusiastic fans of your products and gain new customers and fans.

Need support?

We are your B2B agency for online marketing and data.
Write to us or call us on +49 172 97 43 680.

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