Companies that have mastered the art of storytelling for customer success tend to be more successful than their competitors, according to new research from Marketo, which suggests that companies should focus on telling stories that are shareable, visual and emotional in order to best connect with their customers.
What makes a good story?
This topic will almost inevitably spark a heated debate. But I’d argue that, at its core, a good story has two things: 1) A clearly defined protagonist who faces something he or she wants (the inciting incident) and 2) lots of obstacles that impede his or her ability to reach it. Good stories make us cry; they motivate us to action; they resonate with our own experiences in such a way that we feel like we know people who aren’t real.
Start with your customer
When it comes to telling stories about your customer’s experience, there are two types you can use: success and failure. Success stories will highlight how a person used your product or service in such a way that had positive results; failure stories would demonstrate where someone went wrong with your product, and then show how you helped them come back from their mistakes.
Showing instead of telling
In storytelling, showing is more effective than telling. The most successful business stories have a plot that helps demonstrate your point or help put your customer at center stage. In other words, you can use a story to get people to see through your eyes rather than simply hear what you have to say.
Get ready to tell your story
Customers don’t just buy your product, they buy into your story. An effective customer success strategy includes a toolbox of tactics to reach your customers where they are, so they understand why they need your product or service. Many companies believe that their product sells itself—and it usually does—but what really makes you successful is how well you tell that story. Customers want more than just a great product; they want to hear about how it will help them achieve their goals in life.
Customer success is all about keeping your customers happy and, in turn, keeping them engaged with your business. One of the most effective ways to do that is by telling stories. People remember stories—because they are interesting and unique—and storytelling helps you connect to your customers in a personal way. Stories allow you to learn about your customer’s goals and challenges as well as their values, passions, and aspirations so that you can then relate how your product or service will help them accomplish their goals.