To a prospect, what your customer thinks is far more interesting than what you think.
Many businesses never use one of the strongest sales tools there is: customer stories. They’re case studies, right? Well, they’re similar, but with a distinct difference.
Customer success stories share the customer’s experience of solving their problem or achieving a goal. Told in a story structure, your customer is firmly at the centre with ample commentary in their own words.
Case studies demonstrate your results, using numbers and performance targets. They’re less insightful on the customer’s journey to their outcome.
If you have happy customers, you have successful stories to tell. But you might not know how to create them.
Why tell these stories at all?
- They can shorten your sales process dramatically
- They help your prospects trust you and understand your value
- They showcase your experience in a non-sales way
Prospects can easily put themselves in the shoes of another customer. They can clearly see how you helped, without feeling ‘sold’ to.
For your business, customer stories are a smart investment. Timeless in their content, use them on your website, across social media and other marketing for years to come. Some of my clients create a booklet of customer success stories – they’re that powerful.
How it works: writing your customer stories
Following an initial call to learn more, I’ll confirm my pricing, based on your specific requirements. My service will project manage the creation of your customer stories, from start to finish.
What I need from you
For each story (and I’m happy for you to start with one), I’ll need an approved customer contact. By that, I mean your company will have contacted them to confirm they’re happy to get involved. Not sure how to do this? I’ll guide you.
I’ll also need a brief backstory from you. For example: What did they buy? What were the circumstances from your perspective? How long have they been a customer? I’ll supply you with a concise list of questions to achieve this.
From here, you can sit back. I’ll contact your customer to arrange a convenient time for an in-depth call. Using my experience of the right questions to ask, I’ll encourage them to tell me what was going on when they called upon your services, and how that purchase has helped to achieve their goals. I tend to record these calls and review them in detail afterwards. This really helps to enrich the story.
Creating the story
I can now plan and write your customer’s story, providing you with a draft, which is likely to be up to 1,200 words. This will first be submitted to you, and then to your customer.
Managing the approval process
My pricing always includes one set of amends from yourself and your customer. I’ll liaise with both of you to ensure approval is achieved. If your customer works for a sizable organisation, this might require me to liaise with their press office or marketing team too. It’s all part of my service.
Your customer story is ready to showcase
Delivered in a Word document, you can now start distributing your new story. If you need some guidance on how to do this, or some artwork to create an attractive PDF, I can help.
Following this process, I charge £650.00 (+VAT) to project manage the creation of one story. Should your requirements deviate from my standard method, let’s talk and I’ll provide a quote for you.
Remember: your stories will work hard for years, across many areas of marketing. Just consider the financial benefit of winning one new customer…
Would you like to create some customer success stories?
Questions you might have
How do I ask a customer to tell you their story?
Having used my method with many clients, this has never been a problem. People love telling their stories and talking about themselves!
Email or phone your customer (a great opportunity to reconnect if it’s been a while) and ask if they'd be happy to tell their story so you can use it in your marketing. Explain that they’ll have the final sign-off and it’ll only take around 45 minutes of their time. Stress that it’s hassle-free for them.
Whatever your business, they’ll probably feel quite stoked you’ve asked them.
How long will it take you to create the story?
The timescale is always dependent on your deadlines, my availability, and the availability of your customer. From having an in-depth call with your customer, I’ll generally create the draft within ten days. The approval stage is often determined by the speed of your customer, but I’ll keep chasing it through for you.
How can I use a customer’s story?
They’re such an engaging read, you’ll want to use them everywhere you can. Here’s a list of ideas:
- Put them on your website in their own section. Make sure you link to them from various areas of your website
- Publicise them across your social media, perhaps tagging the customer so they can comment on the post
- Showcase them to your email list
- Create flyers or PDFs that your sales team can use
- Use them at shows and events
- Create a booklet of them
- Talk to trade press and magazines to see if they’d like to use the stories
- Show them to your suppliers
- Make sure your entire team are aware of them
How many customer stories do I need?
There’s no perfect number and it depends on your budget too. Given their long shelf-life, you can gradually build up your library over time.
Consider creating stories around different products or sectors of your business. Or from different customer types. This is something we can chat about.
Can’t I just get some shorter testimonials?
There’s a place for testimonials. But they’re not as powerful as absorbing the reader in a success story from your customer’s perspective. The story helps them to imagine what it would be like to buy from you or work with you. It helps them see the value of working with you to solve the problem they have.
Also, my clients quite often gain snappy quotes and brief testimonials from reworking aspects of the customer story. A bonus that’s easy to achieve.
Do we really have to involve my customer? Can’t I just give you the detail?
Not if you want all the benefits of a customer story. You see, the reader will relate to the emotion and the language that your customer uses. It’s far more believable than you saying: “Mr Jones was delighted when he purchased our widgets…”