Make customers own stories around your product/services.

Creating a memorable experience for customers is what makes a customer come back again. Unique products and experiences make a customer talk about the product and the company. Designing and creating this unique experience requires “sensemaking”. It is all about understanding how the customer would be consuming your product/service, what associations trigger when consuming it and what settings drive “stickiness” and loyalty. Both online and offline business are finding ways to involve the customer in creating their own stories of association and personalize the experience better.

The best examples are from street food stars. One such joint allows customers to customize the topping on dosa (Pancakes), in fact they claim to be a 100 dosa joint. Customers regale how they recommended the variety and some of them are named after their customers. Another unique joint, is Tom’s restaurant in Bangalore, which allows you to create a product, taste it and approve it for others to consume. Kapil 65 is a good old chicken recipe that has been created by a customer in the euphoria of Indian winning the world cup and it is still a crowd puller. Tom’s has a wall where the customer’s name is inscribed with the dish and experience. Consumers as co-creators and idea generators is well understood and Eric Von Hippel of MIT has done ground breaking work on user-led innovations.

Hotels & resorts design unique interfaces for customers to share their experiences and influence decision-making of others. Vintage hotels benefit largely by actively persuading their customers to share and post their experience. However, the major challenge in customer stories is the authenticity of user and their experience. Most website, only have text recommendations and many of the names may look suspect or sponsored. Creating a platform for authentic customer stories requires to understand what people may like to see in the content and how they can relate to the experience. One of the most unique examples for building customer stories is Fabfurnish.com. They have a separate section called “Customer Stories” on their social media page where a customer can upload a personalized photo of the product (furniture or décor) at their house and they also write their experience of shopping and how helpful was Fabfurnish.com with their purchase. This personalized form of review would not only help the business grow but also ensures the loyalty of the customer for their next purchase.

Kaarthik Shakthi R

Junior Consultant – Marketing & Social Media

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