Look closely at each scene and ask: what value is at stake in my character’s life at this moment? Love? Trust? What? How is that value charged at the top of the scene? Positive? Negative? Some of both? Then at close of scene, ask: where is this value now? Compare. If answer at end is same as opening, ask why is this scene in the script? Robert McKee
Start, every time, with this inviolable rule: the scene must be dramatic. It must start because the hero has a problem and it must culminate with the hero finding him or herself either thwarted or educated that another way exists. David Mamet
Moments of truth are turning points in your customer’s experience.
Like a great movie scene, to elevate an experience from the daily stream of ordinariness to one that delights you need to deliver an experience unified around desire, action, conflict, and change. One with a clearly articulated beginning, middle and end.
And yet most experiences lack structure. They lack closure. Without closure, you’ve missed an opportunity to elevate an ordinary interaction into a moment of truth that changes minds, delights customers, and compels them onto the next stage of their journey.
Let’s take something [seemingly] simple, like a presentation. How important is story and structure when it comes to crafting presentations that change minds?
As it turns out story structure is critical. See for example Nancy Duarte’s structural analysis of Martin Luther King Jr.’s I Have a Dream Speech. Most presentations lack structure. Which is why most presentations don’t end up being a turning point for the audience.
When a customer visits your website, attends your presentation, buys your product, uses your service, or calls your service desk have you thought through how it needs to be designed to become a turning point in their journey?
What does a successful turning point look like from your customer’s perspective?
What does a successful turning point look like from your perspective?
In other words, how does the scene end? Is there a change? Is there closure? What memory is your customer left with? What action will they take as a result of the experience?
Does the customer leave the moment of truth changed?
When designing a moment of truth, consider what the experience is like for a customer when they enter the scene, throughout the interaction, and at the close.
What makes it a scene that turns? What makes it a successful moment of truth? A forward shift of emotion, perception, values. For example:
- anxiety -> certainty (anxious as to whether private information would be secure with a new service -> reassurance based on demonstrated backing by independent third parties)
- frustration -> relief (unable to figure out how to use a product -> simple visual aid results in success)
- indifference -> delight (show up for meeting expecting same old boring thing -> gamestorming session that leads to action)
- doubt -> trust (doubt marketing claims -> search web and read reviews by others which back the claims)
What makes it a failed moment of truth or a moment of misery? Either a failure to shift or a negative shift in emotion, perception, values. For example:
- anxiety -> anxiety (call into customer service with an issue -> told the issue is due to a third party so not the company’s problem)
- anticipation -> disappointment (install new software -> can’t figure out how to use it)
- trust -> no trust (purchase based on marketing claims -> try and use it and doesn’t live up to claims)
- hope -> no-hope (new corporate vision and values program launched with much fanfare -> no change in how work gets done)
Perception is critical. Not the facts as you see them. Rather the story the customer tells themselves about the experience.
Unless the customer thinks or feels that something happened, it hasn’t.
Does the customer leave the moment of truth changed? Ready to take the next step along their journey towards their object of desire?