It never ceases to amaze me how many local businesses – particularly micro and small businesses – rely on customer told stories to attract and retain customers. Social word-of-mouth, via reviews on sites like Yelp. Or five-point scorecard feedback on post card mailings (yes, mailings instead of emailing). Or nicely crafted stories by website copywriters, who never have used their clients’ products and services.
First, consider that customers have no idea how to tell stories that sustain your business.
They tell their own stories. How your business intersected with their lives at that point in time. As a result, customer told stories accomplish nothing more, or less, than describing the conditions of a particular transaction.
If your current and future business strategy merely is a string of aggregated, discrete customer transactions, this is great. However, local businesses interested in growing, expanding and sustaining themselves require more than a bunch of customer transaction stories.
Consider that customer told stories may represent customer complacency, rather than discernment.
Repeat customer transactions may just as easily represent chronicled customer convenience rather than customer loyalty. At the end of the day, your products and services really are only just “good enough,” rather than extraordinary and impactful. As a result, relying on customer told stories, whether on social media sites or as testimonials on your own website, only tells part of the real business story.
Then, consider that complacent customer feedback generates a false sense of business security.
Why do businesses rely on their customers to tell them when something is wrong? Sometimes overwhelmingly middle-of-the-road positive customer feedback, especially for micro and small, family-owned businesses, tells another story behind the story. Are certain employees taking shortcuts during service calls and hoping the customer does not find out? Can your micro and small business afford for that type of customer told story to be disseminated by personal and social word of mouth?
Start telling your own micro and small business’s customer stories by creating a storytelling culture.
Why continue to rely on how customers tell the story of your business on social media or via 5-point rating scales? Businesses with storytelling cultures create more efficient and collaborative processes for delivering products and services. Why not tell the real story behind your business story. That type of story helps acquire a new generation of customers and preserves the legacy of your existing customers.
Learn how to tell more compelling stories about your business. The type of stories that acquire and retain customers. Hire me to speak or conduct a workshop at your next corporate or association event.
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Babette Ten Haken, and her One Millimeter Mindset™ speaking and storytelling programs, catalyze organizations and associations, like yours, who want to leverage a more profitable workforce to retain the customers you work so hard to win. Babette is a member of SME, ASQ, SHRM and the National Speakers Association. Babette’s Playbook of collaboration hacks, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.com. Image source: Fotolia