Image courtesy of Pixabay

Have you used storytelling in your customer experience management journey?

The art of storytelling is an important one in the customer experience world. Storytelling is a great communication tool and an awesome teaching tool, as I wrote about in my post titled Storytelling is a Trojan Horse for Learning.

When you tell stories, people listen, and they don’t even realize that they’re (supposed to be) learning! Stories allow you to deliver a message in a way that engages people, inspires them, and helps them understand a desired or intended outcome as a result of a series of steps or actions taken.

Storytelling delivers an impact from both the emotional and the rational perspective, capturing both the hearts and minds of the intended audience.

Whether you’re just launching into your customer experience journey or are well on your way, storytelling is a valuable tool. It serves as a great way to deliver your message, to overcome the barriers to success of your journey, and to motivate and inspire those who will be a part of the journey. In short, stories are used to…

  • Inform, i.e., help people understand the what, why, where, how, and WIIFM  
  • Motivate employees to take action
  • Build trust in the storyteller, presumably your CEO or CCO
  • Build trust in the company
  • Build trust in the journey
  • Convey the values
  • Inspire collaboration
  • Share knowledge
  • And more
There’s always room for a story that can transport people to another place. -J.K. Rowling

As you begin your journey, it’s going to be important to tell a story about the company, its employees, and its customers: past, present, and future. Talk about where the company has been, where it is today, where it needs to go, and why. Paint a picture that connects the employees to yours customers and, ultimately, to a profitable, solvent organization.

How do you do that?

I found the concept of the Story Spine several years ago, and I’ve been waiting to put it to good use. It’s a excellent tool to use to learn the art of storytelling, but it’s also a practical outline to tell a great story.

Image courtesy of Kenn Adams and aerogrammestudio

It’s pretty straight forward, and you can see how the story builds. One piece missing from this image is the addition of “And the moral of the story is…” at the end.

So, imagine if you will…

Once upon a time… there was a company that was losing employees, customers and, ultimately, money.

Every day… the leadership team became more and more frustrated, not understanding what was happening.

But, one day… they heard about successful brands that talked about (and focused on) employee experience, customer experience, customer-centric culture, customer-focused culture, and other key words and phrases that linked to business outcomes such as employee retention, customer retention, and revenue growth.

Because of that… they hired a Chief Customer Officer and a Chief People Officer.

Because of that… they were able to transform their culture to one that not only focused on – but also obsessed over – employees and customers.

Because of that… they created an advantage that was unmatched by their competitors.

Until finally… their customer and employee retention figures went through the roof, and their market performance surpassed that of other companies in their industry.

The moral of the story is… focus on employees, and they’ll make customers happy; make customers happy, and they’ll return. And your shareholders will be quite pleased.

It’s a simplistic version of the Story Spine and how to use it to tell your culture transformation story, but I think you get the picture. Or the story.

 How do you tell the story of your customer experience transformation.

Stories constitute the single most powerful weapon in a leader’s arsenal. -Dr. Howard Gardner, professor Harvard University