Customer Feedback and the Power of Stories
Smart organizations understand the power of stories and enlist brand ambassadors to help tell their stories. Many times brand ambassadors literally deliver the first impressions of the organization. Yes, impressions are created when potential customers visit an organization’s website for the first time but employees (brand ambassadors) are ideally positioned to have the initial live business to consumer interactions. Front line employees that interact directly with the public are positioned to tell the organization’s story and to collect the stories they are told during their encounters with customers and potential customers. Employees often establish relationships with customers and potential customers and influence purchases. While this is essential, what can be equally significant is the information about customers and potential customers that they are privy to—this could include customer preferences; feedback about products and services; or details about competitor products or services.
Stories that evoke emotion and connect customers and potential customers with employees and the organization are nearly priceless. When stories resonate with customers they often connect emotionally and a sense of loyalty can develop. If the values that are depicted in the stories are reinforced by the organization, and if customers hold those values in high regard, customers are more inclined to develop an allegiance to the brand. Over time this allegiance can result in repeat purchases; the trial of new products or services; positive word of mouth, and potentially the acquisition of new customers.
From an employee perspective the greater the interpersonal skills the more successful they generally are at telling the organization’s stories. Two key skills for effective brand ambassadors involve listening and perspective taking. Consider the impact of a well-trained story teller with advanced interpersonal skills. Successful brand ambassadors are more likely be high performers capable of connecting with customers and potential customers elevating customer service beyond that provided by the typical employee. This brand ambassador is the type of employee who most likely collects stories throughout the day. Organizations should engage with employees and understand the stories and feedback that employees received from customers. A repository of stories can help the organization train all employees to elevate the customer experience by providing practical examples. While front line employees are often privy to the organizations’ and customer stories, many behind the scenes employees who are brand ambassadors in less deliberate circumstances could benefit from a better understanding of such stories. Since stories connect us with one another they are a cost effective way for organizations to engage employees as well as customers. The power of stories is valuable to all organizations — capturing them and enlisting others to help tell them can be quite beneficial to the organization and the employees.