Research Papers

Abstract

Moments of truth are viewed in marketing as the decisive moments during the customer journey that eventually shape future purchase decisions, brand loyalty and recommendations. Recently, the concept has found recognition with large tech corporations that seek to influence customer experience at the earliest possible stages of system usage. Despite their importance, moments of truth have hardly been defined or conceptualized. More importantly, few technology studies have actually applied it. By extending and deepening the understanding of moments of truth, we investigated how a customer’s truth actually forms when engaging with a new technology, and what we can learn from philosophy and sociology about the phenomenon. In a qualitative study with 30 Amazon Alexa users, we investigated truth formation over time and in memorable moments. We explored the multifaceted landscape of interactions that shape a customer’s truth - interactions that play out positively or negatively because they tie specific value qualities to the agent. We also addressed ruptures in the customer journey – deeply unsettling moments of truth that abruptly destroy a previously good relationship. We argue that gradual and incidental truth formation can deliver valuable insights for system developers and provide a new perspective for the analysis of customer journeys.

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