Understanding the impact of Communication and Storytelling in your CX strategy
I tend to fully agree with George Bernard Shaw, Nobel Prize-winning playwright, who said, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
You see, as CX practitioners, we all, including this writer, feel we have communicated anytime we engage an audience. We fail to realize often that assumption is actually flawed. As you read this piece, be reminded that there’s always an opportunity to improve your communication skills.
Have you ever completed a presentation and there had been no feedback? You smile to yourself feeling proud that your audience clearly understood the situation and will do better going forward. Could it be because, they just didn’t HEAR you?
Similarly, have you ever emphasized something important, but your audience seemed more interested in something else?
To make a significant impact as a CX practitioner, it is essential to develop effective communication skills, which goes beyond having great oratory skills. Let’s explore this topic further.
What then is effective communication?
Communication is a way of sharing information, ideas, and knowledge through speaking, writing, or using technology. But it’s not just about sending messages, it’s about making sure that the message is received and understood.
Effective communication means that both parties can understand each other clearly, even if they don’t agree with each other. This skill is important in interacting with coworkers and customers, and it can also help you succeed in your business.
“Effective communication is the best way to solve problems.”– Bradford Winters, television writer and producer
What’s the point in being able to generate key insights that can move your CX to the next level but you’re unable to communicate this effectively to get the buy-in of Management and staff alike. It’s akin to failure.
Storytelling is one of the surest ways to inspire others to make a change. It’s an artful way of communicating in a logical sequence, with an end goal in mind. As a CX practitioner, it’s important to understand what your audience is interested in and tell your story in a way that captivates their attention, leading up to your main point.
To effectively communicate, you need to carefully structure your information, include relatable examples and illustrations, and listen to others’ perspectives to build a compelling case. It’s not just about saying what you think needs to be said – it’s about being sensitive to the information already given and crafting a message that resonates with your audience.
Let’s say you’re in a meeting where financial challenges are being discussed. You’ve previously identified some issues that need human and financial resources. As a good CX communicator, you need to adapt your message to the situation.
You could start by acknowledging the challenging situation and then introducing your ideas: “I understand that we’re facing tough times, but we’re a team and can get through this together. The CX team has identified some interventions that can help us address key issues without requiring significant financial investment. Let me share some of these ideas with you.”
You can then proceed to share your relevant initiatives while postponing the costlier ones for later. It’s a simple matter of priority!
Adopting a CX culture in an organization requires considerable effort, and as a practitioner, you may encounter challenges in gaining relevance. It’s easy to assume that obtaining financial support for CX interventions is the only confirmation of the organization’s value for Customer Experience. However, this is not always the case. Just because your CX initiatives don’t receive immediate funding does not mean the organisation does not value CX. Instead, your willingness to adapt and prioritize demonstrates your awareness of the current situation and your focus on long-term goals. It’s an opportunity to showcase how CX can boost business productivity and success
5 Reasons Why Communication and Storytelling Can Impact the Success of your Cx Strategy
“If you just communicate, you can get by. But if you communicate skillfully, you can work miracles.”
– Jim Rohn, author, speaker and entrepreneur
- People Deliver on the CX Promise
Your CX strategy relies on the cooperation of the people within your organization, and it may require significant changes to the way things are currently done. However, people tend to resist change naturally, which is why Culture and accountability are vital CX competencies according to the CXPA. Achieving your CX goals may seem like a miracle, and Jim Rohn suggests that effective communication is the key. Your ability to communicate your message skillfully can inspire others to believe in your vision and work towards it. It’s important to remember that you can’t do it alone, so gaining the support of your stakeholders is crucial to your success.
Remember “Great communication begins with connection.”
– Oprah Winfrey, television producer and host, author, philanthropist
2.Compelling Stories Evoke Emotions
As Maya Angelou once said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” This holds true for effective communication in CX. Using storytelling to evoke emotions, can help you create a lasting impact on your audience, and inspire them to take ownership and action towards improving the customer experience. When stakeholders see the positive impact on their business and growth, they become more invested in the CX strategy, making it easier for you to achieve your goals without micromanaging them
Many CX practitioners have found storytelling to be an effective tool for driving change, and one such person is my good friend, Ahimaa The CX Storyteller. She utilizes real-life stories and experiences to draw attention to CX gaps and inspire positive changes within businesses
3. CX Management shouldn’t be complicated
One of the reasons why your Management and colleagues may not understand or support your CX strategy is because they find it overly complex and difficult to relate to.
My friend and colleague, Amanda Akushie, often says that CX Practitioners struggle to get the support they need because they use too many jargons that people cannot easily understand.
While there’s nothing wrong with using CX terms, it’s important to make sure that they are practical and relatable to your audience. Communicating your ideas through stories can help to simplify and make them more accessible, so that a wider audience can understand and take action.
4. It’s about your CUSTOMERS!
To be customer-centric, you have to prioritize the customer in everything you do. Your goal is to make a connection with the customer and keep them coming back. This means that it’s important to communicate effectively with your customers. Instead of following the crowd, you can differentiate your brand by using storytelling to show your dedication to CX.
A straightforward message like “We care about your feelings” can be more powerful than using complex language to demonstrate your writing skills. The key is to keep it simple and brief.
5. It doesn’t end here…
Your CX strategy is not set in stone, which is great news because it can be continuously improved upon. One way to support this is through effective communication and storytelling. You must regularly share updates and successes with both employees and customers. This will help you create a culture of learning and innovation that keeps your CX strategy relevant and effective for the long haul.
Tips to guide you to communicate effectively as a CX practitioner
- Know your audience:
“To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.” – Tony Robbins, author, speaker, coach
Before communicating, make sure you understand who your audience is and what they care about. Tailor your message and approach to their needs and preferences as we’ve already discussed to enhance the impact of your communication.
- Use simple language:
It’s best to steer clear of complex jargon or technical terms that are specific to your industry. Instead, opt for plain and straightforward language that is easy for everyone to comprehend. This will help prevent confusion or any sense of detachment from your message.
3. Be concise:
Keep your message brief and to the point. Avoid rambling or going off-topic, as this can make your audience lose interest or miss the main point.
4. Use visuals:
I have to admit, I’m a bit partial to visual aids myself. In my opinion, using diagrams, charts, and infographics can be incredibly helpful in simplifying complex concepts and making your message more interesting and memorable. For example, if you’re trying to communicate a concerning trend of declining customer satisfaction, a trend analysis chart can easily convey the problem without you needing to say much at all.
5. Listen actively:
As we’ve mentioned earlier, communication is not a one-way street. To improve your communication skills, it’s important to practice active listening. This means giving your full attention to your audience, responding to their feedback and questions, and being mindful of the information you’ve already shared. In other words, listen first before you speak!
6. Be authentic:
You should always aim to be genuine in your communication. When interacting with customers, it’s important to be truthful and open about your brand’s principles, purpose, and constraints. Don’t make commitments that you cannot fulfill, and always work to establish trust and reliability with your audience. If you make a mistake, avoid trying to appear clever to avoid taking responsibility, as this can quickly alienate your audience. Instead, acknowledge your error and clearly outline how you intend to make amends.
7. Use storytelling:
As someone in charge of CX, leverage the power of storytelling to breathe life into your message and establish an emotional bond with your audience. Share concrete instances of how your brand has aided clients in accomplishing their objectives or surmounting obstacles. Additionally, exhibit how your CX efforts contribute to the organization’s objectives. Help stakeholders understand the tangible advantages that CX provides to the business.
8. Don’t stop improving!
“Excellent communication doesn’t just happen naturally. It is a product of process, skill, climate, relationship and hard work.”
– Pat McMillan, author, CEO
You should always strive to improve your communication skills because there are endless possibilities for more impactful and effective ways to communicate. Don’t limit yourself to one approach or method. Continuously seek to learn and adapt to different scenarios and circumstances. Remember, investing in your communication skills can have a significant payoff.
9. Measure your impact:
Last but not least, don’t forget to assess the impact of your communication strategies on customer satisfaction, engagement, and loyalty. Utilize data to monitor and evaluate the success of your messaging and make necessary changes. Collaborate with your team to review the outcomes of your communication efforts and discuss how you can improve them further.
While there are various methods and techniques for communication, one thing is clear – the power of effective communication and storytelling cannot be underestimated in the success of your CX strategy.
Remember, “How well we communicate is not determined by how well we say things but how well we are understood.”
– Andrew Grove, engineer, CEO
If enhancing your knowledge about implementing CX strategy, grasping the fundamental skills of customer experience, and developing yourself as a CX leader intrigues you, enrolling in the CXPro course could be a worthwhile option. This course delves into pertinent subjects that will guide you towards the desired path.
Head, CX – UBA
National Organizer, CXP Ghana