Storytelling is a powerful tool that has been used in businesses for decades now. Its ability to form human connections, build trust and generate engagement in your customers means that any business out there can benefit from having a good story.
One person who knows all about leveraging the power of stories in business is customer service expert and recent bestselling author, Gavin Scott.
Gavin works with some of the world’s biggest blue-chip companies, helping to enhance their customer experience through his workshops and online training content. Fortunately, we were able to sit down together to have a chat about his unique approach to business and how he leverages storytelling to help inform, educate and inspire his audience.
Before I understood how Gavin used stories to such great effect, I wanted to learn more about the work he was doing in the customer service space.
Here’s how Gavin described it:
Customer service is a mindset
Gavin: “I help the people in organisations to have great conversations with their customers – that’s the main focus. We know that great conversations will result in a great customer experience, which is massively important to any business’s success.
However, having these great conversations requires a certain mindset and developing a certain set of skills first.”
I think it’s interesting how Gavin mentions the importance of mindset in customer service. A lot of people have this stereotypical idea of customer service that it’s some unknown agents on the end of a phone, and that creates quite a formal atmosphere for anyone engaging with them.
Through working on his bestselling book Finding Gold Dust, and reading his online content, I’ve noticed that Gavin has a very natural and conversational way of approaching customer service.
I was curious to find out why he considers this style of communication so important for effective customer service, and here’s what he said:
The importance of being human
Gavin: “The crucial thing here is the importance of being human. If you come across in a very human way, then it allows people to connect more emotionally with you, which results in a much better conversation with your customers.
Sometimes, businesses only tick the box when it comes to serving their customers, but the better response will come from a more natural, conversational approach.
However, getting to this human level of communication depends on your mindset. How you think massively impacts the results you get in customer service and you need to be aware of that. I often talk to people in customer service who say, ‘I just work in customer service’, like it isn’t important, but that sort of mindset will massively impact how they come across.
My training is all about getting people to realise that they don’t just work in customer service. They can actually make a big difference when it comes to how you serve your customers, and therefore a big difference to your business.
So, sometimes, you need to think a bit differently. If you do, that’s going to drive a different, more beneficial outcome.”
Although Gavin has a unique approach to customer service, he has been incredibly successful at communicating these niche ideas to his clients, most of which are large, global organisations.
How was that possible?
This is when Gavin told me about the power of leveraging stories:
Leveraging a good story
Gavin: “Whenever I run my workshops or deliver these ideas to my clients, I really try to focus on telling stories. I spent a lot of time with my grandad when I was a young lad, and he always told great stories. Some were crazy, but all of them were really interesting!
I’ve taken that approach and put it in the line of work that I do now. Whatever it is that I’m trying to get across, I always think about how I can tell a story that helps to connect people with the concept, the idea, or the skill I’m trying to share. I believe that a great story will help to make sure that the approach that I take is memorable for my audience.
As an old friend of mine from the Professional Speakers Association used to say, ‘Stories are everywhere; the more you look for them, the more you see them.’
And it’s so true!
It’s not just in business where you can find great stories. Whatever interactions I have, I think about how I can weave them into a story that I can then share to help bring things to life for my clients.”
Point, story, application
“However, you can’t just tell a story for no reason; stories need to have a purpose. They need to be a vehicle for you to get across your message. A really simple process I learnt from my friend John is:
So make a point, tell a story and help people to understand how they can apply it. It’s a nice simple way of bringing things to life, and that’s part of the approach I used when creating the book.
If you can make things fun and a bit edgy at times with a good story, it makes it more exciting, and it makes your message a lot more memorable.”
I can vouch for Gavin’s stories: his recently published book Finding Gold Dust, which we worked on together, is packed full of interesting and funny stories that all help him get across his key message in a very human way.
Personally, I found myself surprised at the sheer volume of stories Gavin had to share, so I wanted to know if he has some kind of system for keeping them all (surely he doesn’t store them in his head?):
Writing a book
Gavin: “When I first set up my business, people would always comment about the fact that I tell great stories.
One day my wife said to me, ‘Gavin, you need to capture some of this stuff; it’s your IP.’ And she was right.
So I started a spreadsheet and started jotting down a few thoughts on each story and the key concepts that the story related to. Over the last 10 years, my number of stories massively increased, and I thought to myself, ‘How can I get these out to people?’
That was one of the reasons why I decided to put the book together.”
That’s the beauty of having a book. It’s something tangible. It’s something that will exist for years to come, but it’s also a way for people to learn about you and the great work you do with clients.
Most business owners out there have countless stories stored in their head that, if leveraged properly, can do a lot to inform, educate and inspire their customers. In Gavin’s case, it was a book, but these days there are many other possibilities.
For example, podcasts and blogs are other fantastic ways to get started!
I hope you found this article useful! You can listen to the full conversation with Gavin and myself by tuning into my weekly podcast Interviews With Experts.
More to come next week!