I’ve started a collection of sorts – of success stories on using customer stories. I love finding examples in my day-to-day life of companies and organizations using their customer stories in sales and marketing – and actually getting results.
Here’s what I’m collecting:
– Examples of creative, unique uses or formats for customer stories. Not just your ordinary web site or sales use.
– Examples of stellar results with customer stories – with any type of use. Maybe your business added customer stories and have seen more web site traffic, more upsales, more cross-sales, or bumps in sales in a certain vertical market.
Will you be my man or woman on the street on the lookout for the very best examples of customer stories?
Tell me your success story at email@example.com.
I’ll share the top stories on this blog and credit the submitters/nominators.
Every day, people call your organization and end up on hold waiting for the right individual to pick up. Most organizations use that time to play "sold on hold" messages, audio recordings that talk about products, services or upcoming events. "Ask your sales rep today about..."
Do you listen to those messages when you're on hold, just continue reading your email or doing other things? Your prospects probably don't listen either.
But one hold-message recording got my attention more than any other. The headquarters of the Make-A-Wish Foundation plays its "Wish Stories" for callers on hold. The recordings are actual children talking about their wishes and how they were granted, or narrated radio spots that the organization created. It's genuine and really gets your attention.
A teenage boy talks about his unique experience at a baseball game when he was younger. An 8-year-old recalls her trip to Disneyworld. I didn't want the person on the other end to pick up until I heard what each child had to say.
Using your customer success stories and testimonials can be this simple. It's cheap and easy to collect audio testimonials from actual customers right over the phone and then play several on your hold message. Callers might actually listen to these high-impact messages.
Why not try this with your own customers?
P.S. - For a feel-good moment or two in your busy day, listen to a couple of the organization's narrated "wish story" radio spots.
Many companies leverage their written customer stories as lead generators. Sign up for a webinar and get a case study, or give us your contact information in exchange for downloading a case study or success story.
The problem is, those that ask for your information, ask for a LOT of information!
I understand the reasons for this, but personally, I have limited patience for long input forms to access a customer story. With most companies, there's no middle ground. They either don't ask at all or ask you to fill out 8-10 fields. How many of you are willing to input annual revenue or when you expect to make a purchase decision just to be able to read a case study?
I say, there is a middle ground. How about requesting just a name, company name and email? You may not get all the data you want, but then you probably capture names that you would not otherwise. More people are willing to give a little bit of data, increasing the number of overall leads you get.
What's your take on requesting info in exchange for customer stories?
One of my clients, a workforce software company, is going after a niche market - security firms.
They have one really solid customer case study for that vertical market, but ideally want 4-5. So why, once you've invested in one, do you need more than 1-2?
Think about your prospects. In the course of selling to them, do you find they all have the same goal and same needs? Not likely.
Prospects are often at different points, facing different challenges. When in sales discussions, you want to be able to pick from an assortment of stories and find the one that specifically addresses that company's situation. Show an outcome that matches the outcome the prospect desires.
How do you do this?
Look at a particular vertical among your customer base and prospects, and identify several "profiles" among them. Smaller businesses that need X, larger businesses that need Y, those that serve government clients and need to comply with regulations...What are the top situations you encounter?
When you meet with prospects, pull just the perfect story out of your back pocket.
I've been following the U.S. Olympic trials for swimming this past week. The new Speedo swimsuit seems to be making a bigger splash than the athletes wearing them.
That's because the suit itself has so many success stories tied to it. Since Speedo introduced the suit in February, more than 40 new world records have been set by athletes wearing it. It's seen as such a competitive advantage that athletes are considering defecting from current sponsors to wear it. Wow!
In interviews for magazines, newspapers and on TV, reporters ask about the suits and swimmers just rave.
In this case, the product and athletes' success were so noticeable that the suit spoke for itself. Speedo doesn't need to create its own formal case studies. But it just goes to show you the power of compelling stories tied to a product or service - especially in generating media coverage.
I'm always on the lookout for real examples of customer success stories in action. Feel free to share whenever you come across one.