What does story telling and customer experience have to do with each other?
I always hold that good User Experience or UX is fundamental to good Customer Experience or CX. User Experience is primarily focused on when a customer utilizes a product or service. I’m going to give away my age here but if you live in the era before the Internet and there was this thing called the Video Tape Recorder will know that many users didn’t bother to set the clocks. It was too difficult. The User Experience was terrible. Fast forward decades and you have mobile internet but it was clunky, needed custom markup language and overall a terrible user interface and experience. Today, you have Netflix and TV on demand – through an interface that’s touch or point and click. Select a show and watch. You need to make your own popcorn though. The reason the first iPhone took off was suddenly, you have this internet in a touch device that was as easily as using a computer. No more clunky entering of addresses via a number pad.
So, back to stories – we tell stories all the time. Since we’re born, we hear stories read or told to us. My five year old makes up his own stories. Generations ago, you might have sat around a fire and hear the village elder recount some stories. Today, we tweet, post on Facebook and send messages to each other. The personal touch is lost. The emotional value is missing.
When we watch a good movie, it’s often the excellent story telling that is coming though. Box office flops may have the same flashy effects but lack the emotional impact that a good movie had. Guess what? Brands like this thing called emotional value. Think about Starbucks’ rise. They created this third place concept where you are welcome as a human being. You probably feel strongly about some brands and that’s because of their emotional value to you. Stories are like that. They create emotional value.
Storytelling, fundamentally is similar to user experience. At its core, the planning, research, ideas and content creation are exactly the same. It’s a good for teams to tell the story – it helps them understand what are the core values, core audience and why and who the experience is created for. It focuses all the team’s energy back to the user. It helps put humanity back into the equation and therefore, create that emotional value. For example, if you’re a telco, you can create the story about Jane, the busy executive. She spends her morning reading the latest updates on her phone, a lot of messages during the workday, but checks in on social media during lunch. During the weekends, she unwinds with a music streaming service. This is where you start to put the “humanity” back into your customer journey.
By storytelling and putting human characters into your experience planning, you’ll gain new insights, and in the end, since you’ve designed everything with the user in mind, I’d bet the overall user experience is going to be way better than some numbers.