Storytelling tips for a better customer experience impact

28 January 2020 Consultancy.com.au

Storytelling with data has been an integral part of society for thousands of years. In the early days, humans used experience data to create cave drawings to tell future generations where to focus their hunt efforts for the greatest amount of food. Today, we need to use modern experience data to show the rest of the business where to focus its resources for the highest ROI. 

Although cave drawings have evolved into dashboards and PowerPoint presentations, the same principles apply to experience management professionals. It is also our job to communicate the insights that lead to business survival and where to focus the action that will demonstrate tangible ROI.

Our brains are still geared to learn through compelling, data-backed storytelling. It’s proven that our brains engage when we listen to presentations with dot points. In fact, the visual cortex does become activated when we start to process simple language and bullet points.

However, when we listen to a story, not only is the language processing part of our brain engaged, but our larger brain is activated as if we were experiencing the story events ourselves. This is the secret to bringing the data to life and inspiring your audience to action.

Storyteling is the best marketing

Here are three tips for enriching your customer experience reports to captivate and communicate more effectively with any audience:

  • Start with one main character. This will help your audience connect rather than a generalised group of customers. We suggest you start every presentation with a customer or employee story.
  • Start with a story of human struggle and eventual triumph. It will capture people’s hearts, first by engaging their brains. To motivate a desire to help others, a story must first sustain attention by developing tension during the narrative. If the story is able to create that tension, then it is likely that attentive listeners will come to share the emotions of the characters in it.
  • Use vivid descriptions. The language you use in a story can help activate the brain. Metaphors can evoke the sensory cortex and helps the listener think in images rather than words. Using simple language and low complexity is the best way to activate the brain regions that make us relate to the happenings in the story - and avoid overused words or phrases where possible.

Tip: Create videos of customer and employee stories and present improvement opportunities as story boards for maximum impact! 

Wrapping up, effective storytelling with data is one of the most critical skills a CX practitioner can refine. To establish and reinforce the value of your CX program, be sure to tailor your customer experience reports to each unique stakeholder, ground each report in data-backed evidence and harness the power of emotional storytelling.

About the author: Kiri Burgess is a Senior CX Consultant in the Melbourne office of MaritzCX, a customer experience and market research company providing consumer data analysis in real time.


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