When your goal is creating memorable customer experiences, you tend to pay more attention to your clients. Consequently, the stories they tell become more engaging to you both.
On the other hand, if the goal is to close a sale, do you primarily listen for cues indicating you are nearing agreement on terms? Then again, if you are engineering a design, you focus on listening for project and product specifications.
Either way, once that client reaches your goals, you tend to stop listening to their stories.
Once you stop listening to client stories, you fall short in creating memorable customer experiences. The type of experiences which retain your clients.
Are your listening skills tactical or strategic?
How often do you take the time to ask clients to retrace the steps in their story? Reverse the direction of the details so you can clarify what really is going on? Quite often, there is a story behind the story that clients tell you. Understanding that additional story makes all the difference in identifying more comprehensive product and service needs, up front. Or, making your designs more robust and anticipatory of client needs, down the road.
Client stories are the key to creating long term relationships with your customers.
Even when you are not talking about the stuff you sell or design, clients have stories to share with you. Within their stories are keys to their values, beliefs, past and present actions which impact whether their business will grow, expand and sustain itself.
When you co-create stories, together, whatever it is that you sell or design becomes part of your client’s story: to their own customers. Now, to you, perhaps all you care about is closing the sale, completing the design and implementing the solution. End of your story, so you can achieve your own KPIs.
Your less than memorable customer experiences are created because your story is not aligned with the value clients place on their own stories.
Your clients do not want to continuously be selecting new suppliers, partners and vendors each year. Simply because you did not take the time to fully listen to their stories, in your rush to close the contract. Rather, your clients need you to become co-invested in their stories. So that you are on the lookout for, and freely share, mission-critical information for their business viability. Even when there is nothing to sell or design for them.
Co-investment in joining your stories to one another’s creates value differentiation for customer retention.
Are you leveraging story to create memorable customer experiences? The difference storytelling makes is in your own business-building outcomes, and that of your clients, as well.
Take the next steps towards retaining your clients through storytelling.
- Engage me to present one of my Storytelling for STEM Professionals and Left Brain Thinkers speaking programs, workshops or moderated facilitation services. Contact me here.
Babette Ten Haken’s One Millimeter Mindset® Storytelling for STEM Professionals and Left Brain Thinkers speaking programs leverage purpose-driven value differentiation through storytelling, to create and retain successful employees and clients.
Find out more about Babette’s professional story here. Babette is a member of SME, ASQ, SHRM and the National Speakers Association. Her playbook of communication hacks, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.com. Babette’s speaker profile is on the espeakers platform. Contact Babette here.
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