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How to use customer-led storytelling for your brand

Your customers’ feedback can be used for more than just your testimonial page, their reviews can be useful for your story-driven content too. 

As a business, you need to continuously elevate your customer experience and demonstrate that your brand is committed to your customers. 

Focusing on improving your customer experience can come in multiple forms, but according to Forbes, putting in the effort to boost your customer experience generates results that can all benefit your business in the long run:

  • Get a handle on first and last impressions so you can set the right tone for all interactions moving forward and shape perception in case they choose to support other businesses.
  • Reach out to your customers when you know of a problem so you build customer confidence, which helps the customer feel you’re already working on the problem as it arises and gives them a sense of control.
  • Show appreciation for your customers’ business, whether it’s through a thank you note, a message or in person, as they need to know you’re grateful for their support.

In particular, engaging with your customers even beyond the sale shows you’re focused on their needs. Incorporating customer-led storytelling in your marketing strategy shows your audience that you care about your customers and their experiences, which can create a ripple effect of repeat customers, word-of-mouth referrals and increased conversion rates.

What is customer-led storytelling?

Customer-led storytelling is about weaving the most impactful customer stories into a brand’s marketing strategy. 

It’s a matter of course that the Internet provides regular people the means to share their experiences with brands online. Instead of monopolising the conversation and focusing your content only on what you find great about your business–which can build an impression of your brand as inauthentic or possibly even self-centred–customer-led storytelling allows you to incorporate genuine, consumer-driven insights that help show and boost your customer focus. 

Customer-led storytelling acknowledges those experiences and uses them to highlight the strengths of the brand authentically; while audiences can brush off brand-led storytelling if they don’t feel the sentiment is sincere, customer-led storytelling comes across as more genuine as the input comes from someone who isn’t obliged to say good things about your brand.

3 types of customer-led storytelling

Customer-led storytelling can come in different forms, and each type has its strengths which you can maximise in your brand’s content.

1. Daily customer interactions

Everyday customer interactions can be as simple as asking how your regular customers are or promptly responding to inquiries on social media. These interactions have the potential to become stories you can highlight in your marketing strategy. When it comes to making the most of these interactions, you can keep in mind a few ideas to improve customer relationships:

  • Show empathy by showing your gratitude for your customers’ loyalty, as well as err on the side of contrite if they reach out to you with issues.
  • Communicate and be transparent about it by getting ahead of any issues that come up, explaining the situation and how it happened as you apologise for the circumstances, as well as your plans for avoiding it in the future.
  • Invite and act on customer feedback so you can respond to any potential concerns before they become reasons for customers to churn.
  • Meet your customers where they are and aim to simplify the process for your customers to get the information they need, so cut down on the transfers they need to do and strive to respond to requests and issues on the same platform they were raised.
  • Speak your customers’ language, not corporate jargon that they can barely understand, never mind find value in.

When you make an effort to improve your customer interactions you’re able to see and shape customers’ stories.

2. Customer reviews and testimonials

Customer reviews are different from daily interactions in the sense that the former is an intentional demonstration of how your brand has improved your customer’s life–and they’re just as important as customer-led stories to incorporate into your overall marketing strategy. 

Highlighting customer testimonials on your high-traffic pages serves as social proof for potential customers. We’ve listed a few ways you can leverage customer testimonials in your content, like: 

  • Improving your customer journey because it’s a real-time test if your idea of their purchase journey holds, or if there are tweaks necessary to improve it.
  • Driving website traffic as search engines use customer feedback to measure a website’s ranking.
  • Engaging your buyer community to further demonstrate your company’s capabilities in various ways.

These testimonials are valuable data and offer quick, often easily actionable changes that you can make to your customer experience to further nurture your relationship with your audience.

3. Unique case studies

Case studies are a form of social proof that is more in-depth than a testimonial and helps establish your business capacity to solve customer problems from start to finish. 

On top of that, featuring case studies allows you to: 

  • Hone in on specific solutions you want to highlight by showing exactly how you solved a certain customer’s problem,
  • Strengthen customer relationships by reconnecting you with your customers and build their loyalty, and
  • Set you up as an expert in your field the more you share how you’ve consistently responded to customers’ concerns.

For every group of customers that use your products and services the way they were intended, there’s always one customer who finds a unique way of using them. These unique case studies are incredibly useful for helping your brand stand out and appeal to your potential customers. 

How your brand can use customer-led storytelling 

All these methods have potentially valuable contributions to your overall marketing strategy–but it can understandably be a challenge to imagine how exactly you can utilise customer-led storytelling.

If you have varied audience segments, you can identify and develop different kinds of customer stories. At the end of the day, while your customers may have various motivations for enlisting your services–some general principles apply when you’re putting your customer at the centre of the story that you’re telling them:

  • Subtle persuasion lingers more than upfront promotion so you need to build a narrative that ends with your service as the logical outcome, not as the main element.
  • Understanding what your customer goes through shows you’re attentive and considerate of their experience and specific needs.
  • Sharing the possibilities generates interest and inspires customers to return to you for the benefits you’ve illustrated.

Customer-led storytelling is likely one of the most underrated ways to engage your customers, but it doesn’t have to be a total puzzle. Contact us and let’s discover how to leverage your customer stories for your marketing strategy together.

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