Storytelling - a really short CX Guide

April 11, 2018

A good story is worth its weight in salt when it comes to customer experience so why don't we treat it better?

 

Recently I fell into a story trap without even thinking. I brought this

 - this is Himalayan Pink Salt.

 

It really is salt from the Himalayas. I am not sure why I brought it exactly. I am not what you call a great cook, although I do have the odd culinary adventure. But I wasn't standing there thinking this unique salt flavour will set my cooking adventure above the crowd - this is my ticket to the MasterChef final!

 

That with the use of this salt I would become recognised as one the great chiefs of my generation. Actually I was thinking - this is pink salt wow, its from the Himalayas double wow! This will make me cool ....YES PLEASE!!!!!!.

 

In short I became a mindless shopper trapped in a story told in 3 words. What's bad is that I actually have a problem with the sort of person who buys Himalayan Mountain Salt. What does this stuff cost to send around the world? and what is the carbon footprint of this salt? - These things worry me - that overall eco-cost. I worry that some aspects of our ever increasing choice of ingredients comes at such a large cost to us ecologically speaking. We seem to be killing off the planet with the mindless enthusiasm of lunatics and I find as I get older I worry about this much more.  

 

The Story of Lunch

The idea that food has been specially selected or is the rarest is one of those basic CX tricks the food industry does so well. Over the years the story of the food has always been part of the ritual. Its impact on the overall experience is well documented and the impact of the story on the experiences has been physically measured using technology that detects a variety of medical conditions.

 

I was in a restaurant in Hong Kong when they offered me water that had been specially transported from the purest waterfall in Japan. The water was carried in unique containers that are handmade and is carried over treacherous terrain for days before arrive it a special glass for $65 a bottle.

 

My host (the chairman of a medium sized bank in Singapore) insisted we had some and it was nice water. We then played a game in which we were given 3 different types of water to see if we could tell which was the most expensive. Evian (the french bottled water) has a distinctive taste as does the mountain water so it was easy to tell the 2 apart from each other. But was one water worth $56 more....of course not. But was the story worth $56 more absolutely. 

 

The story was important and changed the taste of the water as all stories change all tastes. In the restaurant business a story may begin in the waterfalls of japan but it grows with each step of its journey. 

 

 

What don't we learn?

So why do CX people not treat their stories with the same focus. I frequently audit customer experiences to find that the stories told to customers and other stakeholders are really poor. The story of an experience literally defines it. 

 

The story is there at the start of any experience and if an experience is successful it becomes the story of that success. If you are in the business of delivering an experience then you are the custodian of the story. So here is a short guide to a couple of top tips:

 

1 - The story starts with the stakeholders

You need to think of your story as having a life of its own. This will sound silly but imagine that each time someone experiences a story that it grows in strength and vitality of its own. A story need to be shared.

 

That's why I keep talking about the importance of the digital storyboard. Somewhere that anyone can access from anywhere on any device to understand and be a part of THE story. If they are part of the story they are part of the team. As a story grows it folds in the momentum of that team. If you look at this through an emotion score it becomes obvious.

 The salt scores in the active and important scale in this case because it got me!

 

 

2 - Needs to be easy to understand so KISS KISS -keep it simple stupid

The elevator pitch is a story that you can tell someone in the time it takes to ride an elevator and you need one in any customer experience. I hate to sound like a teacher but - If you can't explain it simply then you haven't explained it at all.

To make a story engaging it needs to relate to something that is important to the stakeholders! 

 

3 - Needs to have a why

Simon Sinek tells a great story about the power of why and I can't and wouldn't presume to try and tell his story better than him.

 

With a why you can start to build even more momentum. If you are not familar with his work here is a short video.

 

4 - Your story has an emotional impact on your experience - measure it!

 

So what are the takeaways here!

 

A story is a vital part of CX and it can define the momentum and success of a project. It is good to measure the emotional impact of your story on your CX project to see if it helping to drive the project forward. A digital storyboard can be a critical success factor because the vitality of a story comes from its engagement.

 

Your story is the core of what transforms in a transformation.

 

I can't put concrete numbers on this but the strength (or lack of it) of your story, has a measurable impact on your ROI. That is close to empirical certainty as you can get. 

 

AND EAT MORE LOCAL PRODUCE 

 

Be well Mp