Your Business Story Must Match your Actions

Your business story is a promise you must deliver on.

 If you’re telling a story about the business and it doesn’t hold true in the interactions your customers have with you, don’t bother with the creative exercise.

A story is more than just your About Us Page. It needs to be part of every communication and action. Think of it as the base of your soup. You can add all sorts of things that will alter the flavor slightly but deep down it should still be the same base and this base should be communicated to every member of your staff.

Boil it down to the simplest of terms.

Then make sure your staff knows:

Our story is about …”superior customer service.” ….”best quality on the market”…”fastest delivery time anywhere.”

Knowing your story with help your staff make decisions that benefit the business and the customer.

 

When Stories are Just That

My windshield had a crack in it. Coincidentally, I was at the mechanic. A glass company approached me to fix it. I scheduled an appointment. They failed to give me a card. I failed to ask for one.

On my scheduled day of service it poured all day. I had no way of contacting them. I went to their website for contact information.

They boasted about excellent customer service and a worry-free process. I called the number. It was a personal voicemail, recording in an unprofessional way. I hung up and double checked the number.

I reached out to the mechanic, who tracked down the person who signed me up. We rescheduled for the following week. No suggestion about how inclement weather should be handled. Nothing but an appointment.

The next day, as I worked from home, the windshield guy showed up. According to my calendar, he wasn’t due for 5 days.

They assured me they would take care of all insurance claims (remember the worry-free process claim?). Two days later I realize they filed the claim but forgot to give my insurance company any details on their business, leaving me having to provide all of the information anyway.

While things turned out fine, albeit a little aggravating, my experience does not match their story of great customer service and doing it all for me. Because I don’t believe their story, and marketing claims, I don’t trust them and will most likely not refer friends there.

If you want your business to excel, and receive word-of-mouth referrals, you must make sure your business story resonates throughout the entire customer experience.

If not, it’s just creative writing.

Writing Can’t be Multitasked

Writers write at Wild Acres Retreat in North Carolina #writing

 

I started off this month at a summer camp for writers in North Carolina. While it was respectfully entitled a “writer’s workshop/conference” it felt a lot like summer camp – having a roomie, eating meals together, and geeking out over writing.

Every one of these writers was serious. They weren’t dabblers. Some had been published multiple times, some still working towards it, but all of us were honing our craft.

The one piece of advice that sticks out is writers write.

  Writers write. –Overheard at Wild Acres Writers’ Conference

You won’t ever get your blog post done if your derriere’s not in the seat. Writing is NOT a multitasking assignment. The only way to get it done is to do it.

But I understand writing is time-consuming. Even for someone like me who feels drawn to do it, I struggle to do it outside of work. My unfinished novel feels very unloved and ignored most days.

While I can’t help get you in the seat (hiring me to write for you is one way around that), I can help make things easier for you once you’re there. Here’s an article I wrote recently about how creating a content library can help you become a more efficient content producer.

 

Guest Blogging for Associations

One of my good friends is married to a chef. People are always telling her how lucky she is because her man cooks. But I had to ask…does he cook at home? or does he give his restaurant customers delicious meals and then pop in a frozen pizza when he gets home?

She laughed and said, no he cooks for his family too and we’re his guinea pigs on new dishes.

So it is for the blogger.

I’ve been spending a lot of time “cooking” elsewhere and have ignored serving it up here on the Tell Your Story blog, so I thought I’d share a few of my writing projects recently.

In addition to these guest blogging gigs, I’m also working on a fiction book about a would-be scientist and his great discovery. More about that later.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you find value in these.

For Associations:

3 Things Your Association Should Never Automate

 

What makes your online community special?

 

Attracting Millennials Through Storytelling

 

How to tell your association's story. #storytelling

Establish Your Business With Helpful Content

Telling your business story allows you to attract the right audience and connect with them. Help your audience with your contentBut attraction won’t keep them coming back.

Content will.

I’ve mentioned before on this blog, the most effective content is:

  • educational (telling someone how to do something)
  • informative (providing information they didn’t know)
  • entertaining

Here’s an example of a great piece I received from Hipmunk. It contains information that is relevant to me (I like to travel, but I’m cheap as all get out), educational (tells me I can save money if I buy now) and informative (I didn’t know airfares went up that much approaching July 4th).

Will this content motivate me to buy?

I suppose it would if I was planning a trip over the July 4th holiday, but I’m not. However, this is not a wasted marketing effort on Hipmunk’s part. Because they shared some valuable, helpful information with me, I am now beginning to see them as a resource for saving money.

They used their data and presented me with easy-to-digest information.

Well done.

 

The Secret to Member Engagement

This week I was over at Memberclicks as part of their Memberviews project with Multiview, featuring people who work with (and for) associations. They asked us what the secret was to member engagement.

completing members through engagement
Is your association completing its members?

To me, it’s like asking how to get someone to fall in love with you. There are a lot of snake oil salesman who are willing to give you a quick fix but building a relationship with your members takes time and dedication. It takes a mentality of placing them first and a commitment to understand what they want and how they want to be appreciated. Plus it also takes a bit of chemistry. There’s no way to make a member fall in love with you, if the member and your association aren’t a good fit.

Because salvaging a member relationship doesn’t work as they’re backing down the driveway with their car packed full of tokens of your time together.

Just as in a relationship, when it’s new, everyone is excited. As it becomes a daily part of their lives, things become less enchanting. Annoyances crop up. Thoughts of wishing you’d do things another way filter into their consciousness and just like in relationships, we can only hope the members will tell us. But if they don’t we have to be prepared to read them through body language and data.

Read my post and let me know what you think.

Can you make a member fall in love with you overnight?

 

Image credit: “Love” by Cuddlesaur on Deviant Art