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This series is all about unlocking your brand’s potential to create loyal superfans. In earlier segments, we learned what it means to be S.U.P.E.R. from our customer experience expert, Brittany Hodak. This segment focuses on the U in S.U.P.E.R.—understanding your customer story. 

Superfans are created at the intersection of your story and your customer story. While it’s tempting to lead with authority (how much we know), we often forget to lead with empathy (how much we care).  Here’s how to understand your customer story while simultaneously making them feel valued.

Breaking Down The Customer Story

First, what does it mean to understand your customer’s story? Similar to the S.U.P.E.R. system, it’s helpful to explore these ideas in an acronym. So here’s how to unlock someone’s S.T.O.R.Y. in a meaningful way:

  • Struggles: What is your ideal customer struggling with? When you understand their perspective, you can adapt your story to meet their own situation.
  • Transformation: What’s the transformation that your ideal customer is looking for? For example, if you’re a real estate agent, you might be the perfect person to find your clients’ dream house in a new city. 
  • Options: You never want to assume you’re going to land the deal without knowing who your competitors are. What are the options, and when are they a good fit for your ideal customer?
  • Reservations: What might hold someone back from choosing you? Speak to and overcome any potential reservations before they take root in your customer’s mind.
  • You: How can you help solve the problems listed above? At the end of the discovery process, accept that you might not be the right person. Be honest, give recommendations, and always build trust. 

Even if you discover that you’re not your prospect’s perfect match, this is still an opportunity for growth. By recommending an option that is a better fit and truly listening to their needs, you build a strong relationship. This customer might choose someone else, but now they’re more likely to give you referrals or visit again in the future.

Power of Active Listening

Next, how do you truly express empathy through each step of the S.T.O.R.Y. process? It comes down to the magic of active listening. When you listen actively, you truly hear what your audience is saying. You understand them more deeply, and you pave the way for a real connection. 

If you’re not familiar with active listening, this is a skill worth mastering. It’s one of the most important tools for any professional to learn. It might sound simple, but it can completely transform your sales process. Here’s how to actively listen: 

  • Ask a question: Always start with a question— this invites your prospect to share their concern or need. 
  • Really listen: Listen to the answer and make sure they know you’re focused by making eye contact, nodding, and giving them the space they need to speak. 
  • Repeat: After they’ve finished speaking, repeat what they said back to them in your own words. 
  • Confirm: Always confirm that you’ve got a clear understanding. After repeating what they said in your own words, say something like “Do I have that right?”
  • Follow up: Lastly, follow up with a relevant question until you’re done with the discovery process. 

By the end of these steps, you’ll have a strong understanding of what your prospect needs. Not only can you capture feedback from this experience, but you can also lead your entire business from this customer-focused direction.

Build From this Story

Once you’ve learned the potential of your customer’s story, you have the opportunity to personalize and grow your customer experience. Though this segment might sound simple, don’t underestimate the power of listening and being present. Your customers are human. That means they want to feel heard and understood. If you can do those things, you’ll always build a real connection. 

In the next segment of the Superfan Series, we’ll explore how to personalize and connect the experience to suit your customers’ needs, both today and into the future. 

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