Demystifying the Alphabet Soup of CX Terminology

Do you design Omni-Channel Experiences?

Then you have probably come across terms like channels, touchpoints, moments of truth etc. Google has made this even more interesting by adding terms like Zero Moment of Truth and Micro-Moments into this jargon soup.

For those in a hurry, here is the TL;DR version,

  • ZMOT (Zero Moment of Truth) is the entire set of activities preceding the purchase. It can comprise a string of touch points spread over a specific time period and can be considered equivalent to a “Research phase” in your customer Journey Map.
  • A Micro-Moment is the same as a touchpoint except it is on mobile device, real-time, short and transient.
  • A touchpoint is also the same as a moment of truth as long as we define/assume ‘significant opportunity’ really represents a coherent customer intent.

Moments of Truth

Let’s start with the “Moment of Truth” the term popularized by Jan Carlzon the CEO of Scandinavian Airlines in the 80s. He defined this as,

every significant opportunity to

make a good or bad impression

on the customer in her interactions with the brand.


The term touchpoint which is of newer vintage is defined as a customer with a goal interacting with a brand.


Other than a clearer definition of customer goal and the vagueness surrounding what constitutes a significant opportunity, the moment of truth and touchpoints are very very similar in meaning & intent.

Zero Moment of Truth

The Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) refers to the point in the buying cycle when the consumer researches a product. So technically ZMOT could represent a whole host of customer touch points during their research phase.


© Winning the Zero Moment of Truth ebook by Jim Lecinski


What the hell is a micro-moment? The closest we have to a definition is “real-time, intent-driven micro-moments”. Like a touchpoint we have a customer with intent, so besides the mobile context is this only a matter of semantics? Lets try to clarify this with an example. Let’s say I have an “I want to know what is the best mobile phone for me?” moment while watching the latest episode of Two and a half men, leading me to search for an android phone with the longest battery life. This micro-moment is indeed a mobile touchpoint in all respects.

In summary

All of these terms are referring to the point in time at which a customer is interacting with a brand.   
ZMOT = n x (Moment of Truth = Touchpoints = Micro-Moments)