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How to optimize for the zero moment of truth

A zero moment of truth shapes CX, yet many organizations don't know they have control over it. Learn how to tackle the zero moment of truth expertly.

Customer journey maps can help organizations understand how customers navigate service experiences from beginning to end. With this insight, CX leaders can optimize for best possible engagements.

However, a customer journey map often fails to consider what happens prior to the initial contact center touchpoint. That's a lot to leave unexplored. Take, for example, the zero moment of truth, or ZMOT. While the term may be more widely used among marketers than other CX professionals, ZMOT is important for all to understand.

What is the zero moment of truth in the customer journey?

The ZMOT is the point at which consumers decide they need something. It continues as the consumer actively researches products and services, and then decides what to buy and from which business.

Many CX leaders don't have visibility into consumer activity outside the contact center. If customers or prospects haven't yet formed an impression of a company, they might very well do so at the ZMOT. Failing to account for the ZMOT in a customer journey strategy could make an organization get behind on CX before it knows there's an experience to understand.

Research from Metrigy in a study of 500 consumers in North America showed many dissatisfied customers don't go quietly. Of those studied, 26.1% of consumers said they leave negative reviews on ratings websites. This hits directly at discovery taking place during the ZMOT.

Tips to optimize for ZMOT

CX leaders can help optimize for the ZMOT in a variety of ways, including the following:

  • Work with marketers to understand the full scope of how a customer or prospect might encounter the organization's brands and determine whether additional channels could support these efforts or whether to reallocate agents from one channel to another.
  • Educate agents on new products and services so they feel prepared to address consumers' questions that arise during the ZMOT period, and support them with real-time coaching as needed.
  • Use generative AI to create personalized messages and other content for consumers as they engage with agents during outreach on products and services.
  • Monitor third-party rating sites for references to the organization's products and services, and proactively reach out to engage customers with purchase incentives.
  • Use social listening tools to discover who says what and either encourage or discourage that behavior.

Grabbing a consumer's attention and capturing the all-important purchasing decision during the ZMOT is a critical step in a customer journey, but it is one of many. When a prospect or existing customer makes a purchase, CX leaders should aim to deepen the relationship with exceptional service experiences across the journey.

Beth Schultz is vice president of research and principal analyst at Metrigy. She focuses her research on unified communications, collaboration and digital customer experience.

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