«Return to Blog List How to Keep it Real – Authenticity in Customer Stories

These days, potential buyers believe other satisfied customers more than anything else. If that happy customer happens to be a friend or other contact, that’s best. But customer stories are a close second.

As managers and creators of customer stories, it’s our job to help keep customer success stories and case studies high up on that list of trusted sources. That means keeping them real and believable.

I occasionally see companies taking shortcuts for one reason or another. They’re too busy to reach out and engage the customer, and pretty sure they know what the customer would say, so the customer isn’t interviewed. Or, the customer is too busy at the time.

It’s hard to fake customer stories based on real customer interviews and insight. Stories lack the customer’s real voice and authenticity, and all start to sound the same. The quotes I create to put words in customers’ mouths are never as colorful as what the actual customer might say.

Keeping customer stories believable depends on making the effort to get actual customer information as often as possible.

Here are tips for keeping customer stories real.

  1. Get the customer’s buy-in, The first step in creating authentic customer stories is getting the customer on board. Sometimes organizations tip-toe around happy customers, not wanting to upset the delicate balance. If you find reasons and angles for the story that interest the customer, it’s a much easier sell.
  2. Interview the customer, You might think that all the information you need can come from internal account and sales reps, but you never know. In interviews, I often find rich information from customers that no one else knew. Maybe it’s the first time the customer has been asked a certain question.
  3. Interview the customer LIVE – I’ve seen companies ask customers to fill out written questionnaires about their experience. The approach lacks an interactive element that drives better information. Try to get the customer on the phone.
  4. Get real customer quotes, If at all possible, collect quotes directly from the customer. Even if the rest of the story was pieced together from internal contacts, reach out to the customer, even by email, for a few comments.

It takes some extra time and effort to make stories authentic, but it’s worth it to get firsthand information and preserve the integrity of case studies and success stories.

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