When your clients think about their relationship with your company, who do they see as the hero? Are you the hero for providing your service? Should you be?
As you connect with your customers and tell the stories of your company’s heroes, you have three choices. All are good, but one is best.
Good heroes, corporate heroes, and the best heroes
Whole Foods told me today that “the best part of our stores isn’t what’s on the shelves.” I learned about some amazing human beings who are going out of their way to serve customers. These are people who deserve recognition for their dedication to Whole Foods’ customers, to their store, and to the company. With these heartwarming vignettes, Whole Foods has honored (and encouraged) their employees and, they hope, made my connection with the company deeper. It’s a great tactic for staff recruitment and retention, and a nice step toward customer loyalty.
Who wants their company to be the hero of the story? The executive team, the sales staff, and most marketing managers, from what I’ve seen. On the surface, it seems like the obvious choice. You want your company, and its products or services, to be best in your industry. Your accounting software lowers users’ tax bills. Your newly redesigned SUV has best-in-class traction when snow hits the Rockies.
You get the idea. You’re selling a premium, unsurpassed product, and shouldn’t that be the choice of every discerning buyer? It’s an easy sell to leaders inside your company, and it is one kind of corporate storytelling. Your internal staff feels pride in the product or service, and your customer believes they have made the best choice. Customer loyalty can deepen and revenue can grow.
The best heroes
Some clients cannot wait to tell people about your product. Those customers grab people and fervently share their experience with your service. Their enthusiasm is contagious. Aren’t those the customers that we all want? To create those raving fans, turn the mirror around — your company is the secondary hero in this case. The real hero is the client because of what your product or service helped him do. Because of your accounting software, he saved his company several million dollars. He got a bonus and a promotion – and it was because of your software. Or the driver of your company’s SUV who ran into a freak blizzard while driving his daughter home from kindergarten. The roadside was littered with lesser vehicles, stranded in the snow, while he made it safely home just as the roads were closing. Because of your vehicle!
Tell stories like that, and clients are yours for life. Their friends and colleagues recount the story to others, and your customer is the hero BECAUSE of you. In a world where we would all like to feel more heroic, it’s a story that will gain traction. It’s the story that goes viral. Your staff is proud to be part of this story, your customer’s loyalty grows (even if it’s not his story), and it’s likely that your revenue grows, too. Everyone wants to be the hero of a story like this.
So tell the stories of your heroic staff. They deserve the recognition. Tell the stories that make your product the star. And absolutely, tell the stories that make your customers the heroes – they are the ones that people really want to read – right before they buy what you are selling.
Have you heard any amazing hero stories lately? We would love to read them! Share them with us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’re stuck as you think about corporate storytelling, call us at 770-823-2044 for a free introductory chat. Maybe we can help.