How do you use customer stories? Do you follow a template? Do you used mixed media (words, video, pictures)? Do you stick to customers-only? What types of stories are you using at each stage of the funnel?
60% of B2B buyers search for peer reviews and testimonials.– Google/Compete
The power of word of mouth and peer review is clear. It works. The thing we’ve been thinking through at Demand Spring is how to really leverage the customer at at each stage of the funnel. I’ll share some of our thinking. Hopefully it sparks a thought or two of your own.
At the top, it’s about aligning with influencers and brand advocates who really “get” you. By “get” I mean those who understand, align and amplify your organization’s values. Make sure you (1) have content that reflects these values (like Squarespace) and (2) give your influencers and advocates a voice to spread, share and amplify this content. Many organizations miss this opportunity. And honestly, these stories do as much for employees as they do for prospects and customers. Sweetgreen does a great job of this one, per this HBR article:
Sweetgreen is a healthy grab-and-go food chain that always seeks to “add a sweet touch,” as the company describes it. Not only does it want to serve customers delicious food with stylish sustainability baked into every bite, but it also wants to make its mark as a fine-tuned instrument of tightly aligned, mission-driven business. It uses stories to show what adding a sweet touch really looks like in practice.
In the middle, a customer wants to read, watch, hear how your solutions solve a particular problem better or differently than anyone else. Be as bold as you can here. And be as funny, interesting and valuable. No one wants to read a boring story. Tell it from the customer’s point of view. Keep it scannable and as short as you can. This is the bulk of where customer stories are used today. Great examples include: Toast, Uberflip, a bit more traditional, but still really nicely scannable, Tettra.
Decision-making time, see above. Get creative here to seal the deal. Use testimonials and mini-stories on how customers are loving, using, making your product or service better. Is there a better example of this then Ikea Hackers?
If you have customer feedback on a fantastic trial experience, amplify it. Do your customers talk about your amazing people or exceptional culture? Great. Use it.
With 70 percent of U.S. consumers willing to spend more to do business with a company that has excellent service, and with a 5 percent increase in customer retention delivering 25 to 95 percent higher profits, better customer service should top every company’s priority list. – Sharpen
But wait, there’s more. Don’t forget to use customer stories with your customers. Do your customers have the ability to connect with each other? If not, consider connecting them through events, an online community, or on a smaller basis based on their customer lifecycle. Just like in any relationship, the more connected we feel, the stronger and more loyal we are. Connection to your organization is great. Customer-to-customer connection is invaluable. Here’s a great online example from Adobe.
The biggest takeaway? Customer stories are great sources of inspiration, validation and influence at all stages of the buyer journey. Would love to hear your thoughts. You can always send them to me here. I’ll read them. Promise.