"Luke, I am your father"...
And with that line we had to watch the second movie. Great stories capture both our hearts and our attention and, it turns out, they're are also the key to helping your clients love your business too.
Today we're going to cover one of the most important stories or narratives that you need to understand in order to build a successful business and NO it's not your WHY story...
They're on a journey
As I was building up my first business and running on the hamster wheel to make it successful I came across a concept that stuck with me and completely changed my results.
Once I heard the concept from one brilliant business coach, I began to hear it and see it from others too.
The concept is actually pretty simple and is both powerful and empowering.
Your clients aren't buying products and services from you, they're on a journey and you and your business become a part of THEIR STORY in helping them accomplish what they want or to get away from what they don't want.
To put a different way, the experience your customers and clients have with your business and what you offer is just that...AN EXPERIENCE...A STORY.
They start with you in one place. They're normally in the pain or challenge of something or they desire something that you have to offer. They discover you, they interact with you, they decide to put faith in your offer, they buy, they rationalize (we all do that one don't we, hehehe), they experience what you do or buy what you made and then their problem is solved or their desire is met, they are then a new version of themselves on the other side.
This simple idea changed everything
If you'd like to improve your marketing, your sales process, your clients experience with your company, don't get bogged down in tweaking your sales tactics, putting out more content and training your team better (although those things are important), they aren't the things that'll really change the outcome.
Start to look at your entire customer experience as one intriguing and adventurous story for your client.
Because...this is how your customer experiences it.
As I mentioned above, the story starts with them being in pain, in a challenge or desiring something. They comes their first contact with your brand, whether directly or indirectly. The plot thickens as they learn about your products or services and begin interacting with you.
The plot takes a major turn when the customer decides to buy something from you, and the story continues as the customer's relationship with your business moves forward to future purchases and hopefully to be sharing their 'story' with others through testimonials, reviews or just plain old fashioned word of mouth.
When I started looking at my businesses like client journeys or client stories everything shifted for the better.
My marketing worked better, my customers were happier and spent more money, my profit went up and my focus became clearer...I finally knew what I wanted to accomplish with my clients. I wasn't trapped in thinking my business was just numbers on a page or screen.
The data doesn't help...yet
As an entrepreneur and the owner of multiple businesses and brands, I love my spreadsheets.
I love sipping my morning coffee at my desk and pouring over last weeks results, looking for the message in the minutia.
When we're evaluating the efficacy of our methods and relative success and failure of our ventures, we tend to look at data. This data can come to us in the form of statistics like sales data or web analytics, or from customers themselves in the form of survey results. But this data can't fully convey the customer experience as the customer LIVES IT.
This data is only partly useful because it doesn't convey the totality of the customer experience, and that's exactly what the customer experience is – a totality. The clients journey is an all inclusive narrative from where they were to where they'd love to be and what role your business played in helping them get there.
No 'Data' is going to show how your outreach team connected to the client or how your sales crew knew exactly what to ask and say in order to point the client at the perfect solution. The data won't tell you how your customer service people were understanding and valuable and how your fulfillment team went above and beyond.
Data won't show those things. But, knowing the ins and outs of the story, the journey your clients are in, will help you better equip your company with the right tools, skills and perspective to help your clients.
And, here's a BIG TIP if you're using customer surveys to uncover how your company is performing in the eyes of the customer I'd consider them frivolous data over the actual stories and information you can gather from testimonials, client reviews and your own research. Most people don't really enjoy customer surveys and you're lucky, if you get a few sentences of feedback.
The customer experiences their journey with your company as a story. Like a novel or movie, each scene plays a part in the overall story. In order to understand what's working well or what's going wrong with your customer experience, you need to know this entire story and how all of the small parts fit into it.
How do you know their journey?
By now, if you've read this far, you're at least convinced of the power of making your customers the focus of your company and building a client journey around their story and their needs.
But, how do you actually find out what your customers journey/story really is ahead of time, in order to build out the client experience with this in mind?
I always recommend starting at the source.
Go to existing customers of yours, whom already know and like your company and ask them to candidly share where they were and what they wanted when they started with your company and then ask them where they wound up and how they feel now, after they've purchased your product or service.
If you don't have customers to pull from, go out and talk to people who have experienced something similar and ask them the same questions.
I recommend gathering several of these stories and then doing some comparisons. Are they similarities in how they felt to begin with, or what was holding them back from moving forward. Did they share the same kind of experience in their journey with you and your team, or was it different from person to person.
Once you've seen the patterns, then comes the final part. Write out your ideal clients journey in a story form. Once the story is written (and this doesn't have to be elegant and eloquent, it could just be bullet points) then you can layout a client journey map or customer experience map.
A customer experience map starts with the first contact you have with your customer and works its way through all of the story's "scenes," which are the individual touch points you or your team have with the customer.
A customer experience map is something like an infographic which shows the entire story. You can take in the big picture at a glance, but it also shows you all of the relationships between the different parts. You can more easily see where problems might occur and areas where you can make improvements in order to maximize the experience.
There are many different ways to approach mapping the customer experience, but it should always be in story form. You should understand your company's customer experience through the customer's eyes.
Armed with this powerful guide you can build out a comprehensive and customer centered experience for your clients. An experience they'll never forget and want to tell their friends about.
I hope this helps you build an incredible, growing and strong business...a business with purpose and passion.
CEO TYME Media & Consulting
Hi, Michael here from Thank You Media. A few years ago I spent $20,000 on a single marketing campaign that brought in only $3000 in revenue. The next year I spent $20,000 on a single marketing “strategy” and brought in over $285,000 in revenue.