Get in the Van…We’re Heisting Customer Advocacy
Transform an Experience into a Story
During a TED Talk, Lisa Ekström explained how stealing (or borrowing for an extended time) your customers’ positive experiences can drive advocacy. Ekström is the founder of Komoja and has developed a knack for harnessing positive customer experiences during her time at Scandinavian Airlines. The word “Komoja” is a Scandinavian derivative of the Thai word “komoj” which means to “borrow or steal” and serves as the foundation to her approach of amplifying positive customer experiences to the point that they cease being experiences and become stories that customers tell their friends, family, and random people on Twitter.
We, as human beings, are natural storytellers. Our DNA coding subconsciously forces us to recount past experiences as a foundational aspect of social interaction. We have loved telling stories ever since our hairy ancestors huddled around fires in caves bragging about their ability of killing mammoths with pointy sticks. To that end, Ekström referenced a study from Denmark that concluded that people will tell approximately 50 people about negative experiences, but share positive experiences with less than five people. While managing Scandinavian Airline’s customer relations department, Ekström knew she had to flip these numbers, but she struggled in doing so.
While waiting for enlightenment, Ekström and her team tried a simple approach: giant cakes. They decided that if they sent satisfied customers giant cakes, they would not only share the cake with their friends, they would also share the cake’s origin story. We all know there are two types of people in this world: people who love giant cakes and liars. This approach produced decent results, but Ekström knew a better way existed to inspire customers to tell a story about their positive experience.
While eating dinner with some friends, enlightenment revealed itself to Ekström. A waiter asked a couple sitting next to Ekström if they were enjoying their meal. They responded that things were not ok, “but in fact, this was the best meal they ever had.” The waiter then smiled and said, “I’m so glad you enjoyed your meal that much. This one is on the house.” Ekström realized that the waiter transformed a positive experience into a story in that instant. Not only did the couple enjoy the best meal of their lives, but also they unexpectedly did so for free. We have all heard stories about amazing meals, but how often have we heard a tale about a restaurant refusing to charge us after we expressed our delight? The waiter created such a unique and novel experience, Ekström knew the couple would tell many more people than the five-person average. For the price of one meal, that restaurant would komoj that couple’s experience to drive advocacy.
Ekström then decided to komoj this approach and implement it at Scandinavian Airlines. Shortly after her NYC trip, Ekström received a call from a young mother who wanted to thank Scandinavian Airlines for helping her wrangle her children and carry her luggage during a recent flight. Ekström replied by saying she was so glad that the woman had a positive experience, that she wanted to refund the price of her ticket. The woman was so surprised that she refused to believe Ekström. After realizing that Ekström was serious, the woman became very emotional with gratitude. Ekström knew that for the price of a single ticket, Scandinavian Airlines could komoj that woman’s positive experience and transform it into a conversation topic for years.
The best advertising campaigns rarely make discussion agendas at family gatherings. If you want to compete against the time that Uncle Frank almost blew off his hand with defective fireworks, you must provide your customers with a story that was so unique, they want to share it during brisket night (feel free to invite us…we love us some brisket). Good experiences are positive, but they usually terminate with Google reviews or watercooler conversations. Stories live much longer and reach a much broader audience. You must komoj these audiences with stories from your customers.
By no means, does one komoj rule them all; but a good place to start is where you have the happiest customers. Ekström states that businesses obsess on righting bad experiences and often overlook what they are doing well. The komoj is hiding amongst your happy customers. Try to identify the particular “thing” or service that brings the most joy to your customers and determine a way to transform it from an experience into a story. We love hearing and telling stories; always have, always will. Now it’s time to give your customers a story they can’t wait to tell their friends and family.
Contact us today and learn how we can transform your customer’s experiences into stories.