Most people think of storytelling as a way to entertain or engage an audience. But did you know that storytelling can also be used in customer service?
After all, people no longer respond to canned responses or scripted interactions. They want to see real people interacting with them, and they want helping solving their problems in a friendly, human way.
Fortunately, there are many ways that you can use storytelling in your customer service interactions.
This post will cover five of them. Get started and read how you can use the principles of storytelling in your interactions with customers.
1. Establish a personal connection
People like to do business with people they know, like, and trust. And one of the best ways to create that personal connection is through storytelling. When you tell a story about your own experience or someone else’s, you create a bond with your customer that can’t be broken. You become more than just a faceless company; you become real people with real lives and real values.
For example, if you run a small business, you could tell stories about your personal journey as an entrepreneur and how that led you to start your company. Or, if you work in customer service, you could share customer stories that demonstrate the impact of your work and show the human side of your brand.
2. Create a narrative arc
Stories have a natural structure that we can all understand instinctively, even if we don’t realize it. This structure is called the narrative arc, and it involves an introduction, rising action, climax, resolution, and denouement or falling action. By using this basic model of storytelling in your customer interactions, you can engage your customers on a deeper level and create an experience that feels more meaningful.
For example, if you are trying to resolve a customer issue or help with a product return, you could use this narrative arc to structure the conversation. You might start by introducing yourself and explaining the situation at hand, then share how you intend to resolve the issue and finally bring the story to a satisfying conclusion by providing clear next steps for your customer.
3. Showcase your brand values
Your brand has certain values that are unique to you, and these values should be key ingredients in all of your storytelling efforts. Whether you are telling stories about yourself or featuring other people’s stories on your website or social media, incorporating your brand values will help strengthen the emotional connection with your customers and make them feel more loyal to you.
For example, if you are a company that prides itself on being environmentally friendly, you might share customer stories about how they have been helped by your sustainable products. Or, if you run a large retailer, you could tell stories about how your employees go out of their way to make customers feel welcome and respected.
You can create posts on social media and other places to highlight this information. In this way, you can show your customers that you are invested in more than just making a profit, and that you truly care about their needs.
4. Use customer stories to create empathy
One of the most powerful aspects of storytelling is its ability to help us understand others and build empathy. When we see ourselves reflected in a story or hear someone else’s experience, we understand what it’s like to be in that person’s shoes. And this can help us better relate to our customers and understand their needs and concerns.
For example, if you run a customer service department, you could tell stories about customers who have had difficult experiences with your company. You could share how you worked with those customers to resolve the issues and build a stronger relationship going forward. By sharing these stories publicly or during negotiations, you can help other customers feel less alone and more understood by your company. and you increase the chances of making more sales as your audience develops trust in you and your brand.
5. Bring your stories to life
Lastly, to make your customer interactions truly memorable, it’s important that you bring your stories to life in an authentic way. This means using language that is natural and real rather than overly polished and scripted, as well as making sure that the content feels true to yourself and your brand.
If you are a small business owner and your customers often ask you about where the ingredients in your products come from, you could share a story that focuses on one specific ingredient and how it is sourced. By sharing this information with images, descriptive language, and even videos, your customers will feel more connected to your brand as well as appreciate the personal care that goes into each product.
For example, watch this video on how shea butter is made by the Baraka Shea Butter company.
It’s a wonderful journey into the lives of North Ghanaian women and the work they put into making the product.
This type of story serves multiple purposes – it answers the question ‘how shea butter is made’. It builds the brand’s authority by showcasing its ethical practices in product sourcing. And it builds trust and memorability.
There’s no question that a one-time content effort like this pays off over several years through sales and positive PR.
As you can see, using storytelling in customer service is a great way to engage with your audience and build stronger relationships with them. Whether you are telling stories about yourself or featuring customer stories on your website and social media, remember that authenticity and realness are key. And by making sure that the experience of working with you feels meaningful and memorable, you will be able to strengthen both loyalty and sales over time.
Overall, there are many effective ways to use storytelling in customer service interactions. By incorporating narrative structures, showcasing brand values, building empathy, sharing authentic stories, and bringing these stories to life through images and other visual elements, you stand to improve customer experiences and grow your business.