How to Find + Tell Awesome Customer Stories

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customersWant to grow your business? Then share your customer stories. Yet one of the greatest difficulties entrepreneurs, nonprofits, and large corporations have is collecting their customer stories.

Not only do many organizations resist talking with their customers (I might hear something I don’t like), it requires time and feels complicated to actually get done. But most times it simply comes down to not knowing exactly how to ask for feedback, or not knowing the right questions to ask.

So I’ve pulled together some of the best posts I could find to help us find and tell our customers stories. Hover over the title to get the link.

1. Your  Customers Are Always the Story

What a great article! Get your head on straight about who the real focus is in your business storytelling.  It’s not your product or service — it’s your customer. Want loyal customers? Then share their stories. Brag about them (not you) and what they were able to accomplish. Your company is simply the supporting character. Chris Brogan is the author of this piece and there are several of good tips on making the customer the center of the story. Plus there  are video examples to enjoy and learn from.

2. Sure-Fire Ways To Easily Gather Stories And Build More Customer Loyalty

collectingIn an earlier post for Curatti I focused on the kinds of questions you need to ask to generate stories from your customers. In this article I share how to gather stories from your customers — which is always a challenge for businesses both large and small.

There are lots of good how-to tips here that will definitely make it easier to gather your customer stories. If you follow my advice, you will find the stories you really want to hear and promote.

3. How to Let Your Customers Help You by Sharing Their Stories

I love this very clear how-to article for gathering customer stories. The author, Manya Chylinski, provides very clear steps on how to get this done. Yeah! Her best piece of advice is to not do the interviews yourself — find someone else who is a good listener, maybe even someone outside your company. Excellent tip. Asking customers for their stories is sometimes hard to do. Maybe the story the business wants to hear is not the story your customer wants to tell — and I don’t mean that customers want to complain. I just mean that businesses need to be open to all kinds of stories a customer may want to share.

Sometimes it is a lot easier for a neutral party to gather these stories for you. My only other comment is that the author focuses on sharing stories only as case studies. But case studies are not the only effective kind of customer story to share. To get a handle on the ways to structure and craft all kinds of stories, go grab my new book Business Storytelling for Dummies on Amazon.

It is fabulous that the author shares how a single story can parley into 38 pieces of content. That is a content creator’s dream come true! Read the article for the author’s process, great tips, and a free downloadable book.

4. Create Customer Loyalty By Listening For Needs

listeningI like this article by Caroline Rowan because it makes the point that when we are evoking and listening to the stories of our prospects and customers, our ears need to be tuned to listening for their needs. There’s a handy chart that helps explain this, and some helpful perspectives. It’s easy to get caught up in the drama of the story. But while you are listening, are you also trying to hear what needs are being expressed?

Connecting with the needs of customers/prospects is where all the gold is. You do this by listening empathically — in other words, putting yourself in their shoes and continuing to ask questions about their experience to figure out their needs. But more often than not, their needs are already part of the story they are sharing and the problem they are resolving. If the stories you share in return do not reflect the need states of your customers, then your stories won’t connect and business does not grow. So make sure you keep this chart in mind and listen at the highest level.

5. Attract More Customers By Writing Posts They Crave

Once you’ve got your good listening ears on, here are more specific ways to discover your customer’s hearts desire. Of course, asking customers directly for their stories using my story prompts (see article 3 above) is a fabulous place to start. But that’s not the only way! Here author Mark Trueman gives us plenty of great tools and resources to find customer pain points and the answers they are searching for. I’ve used some of these myself with great success. The author includes step-by-step instructions/screenshots, which I find very helpful.

Have a terrific time using these methods because there are lots of resources here that you can use.

6. Who’s the Hero in Your Business? How To Build Sales + Customer Loyalty

successYeah! What a terrific video from story and sales professional Michael Harris. I love how Michael walks us through the process of creating a story that sells, and that will also build customer loyalty. Do you know what part of the story needs the most focus from you in order to make the sale? And it is not the ending or call to action!

Oh yeah, and Michael also tells us how to make the customer the hero, not the victim. That’s essential to master. I also am thrilled that he makes sure we all understand that when telling your story to a prospect, it is just as critical to listen to their story in return if you want to build loyalty. Better yet, there are examples he shares of a story that won’t sell, and a story that will. Double yeah! Thanks Michael for these great tools. Not only will you be helping sales, you will be promoting your customers, who will in turn promote you, thus increasing your sales. Go watch the video and get those stories in shape so you can make those sales, build fans, and build your business.

The End

Now it’s time to get busy. Go gather your customer stories and share them in the comments section below. I’m looking forward to reading them!

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Karen Dietz has been working in business storytelling with organizations for over 2 decades. She is also the top global curator on business storytelling at www.scoop.it/t/just-story-it. Karen is the co-author of the just published book "Business Storytelling for Dummies" by Wiley. You can find this and more at her website here.

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