Customer Experience as a Story

I once had a wonderful colleague whom I worked with as a co-facilitator of workshops with senior leaders.   He was a very bright and confident presenter who could lead a spirited discussion with the most challenging participant.  He also loved to tell stories.

His stories were typically long and detailed.  But, he never learned an important storytelling principle:  enchanting participants to join him on a long, detailed fable only works if the story’s punch line is insightful or compelling enough to make worthwhile the trip through its intricate details.  He has now retired and only worries about the attention span of his grandchildren.

Customers are a lot like workshop participants required to sit under the influence of a storyteller with a minutia problem.  Most service has service hoops customers are required to jump through.  Fortunately, customers are more than willing to jump through hoops—a lot of hoops.  However, hoop jumping wears quickly thin if the quality of the experience (like a punch line) does not make the trip worthwhile.   Smart service providers attack the issue in two ways.  They take as much minutia out of the service processes as is possible while elevating the value of the service experience.   If your service experience was a story, how long would you retain your customer’s attention span?

About Chip&John

Chip R. Bell and John R. Patterson are customer loyalty consultants and the authors of several best-selling books. Their newest book is "Wired and Dangerous: How Your Customers Have Changed and What to do About it."
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