The Power of Storytelling in Customer Success

The Power of Storytelling in Customer Success

Seated on a luscious green velvet chair, I found myself reunited with an entrepreneur after a long gap of 11 months. My arms were placed on a small 4-seater table I had learned was imported all the way from Rajasthan, India, which adorned small maroon and moss green hand-painted diamond motifs radiating from the center all the way to the outside of the rectangular table.

Beside me was a large windowpane with a panoramic view of the parking lot and a wall to our left where we had six similar tables and chairs, filling the chatty, warm, and cozy room.

This annual ritual of more than two old friends catching up meant sharing all the highs and lows, crazy and not-so-crazy things we did in our respective lives in the last 11 months. The air was thick with anticipation, a palpable energy fueled by the stories waiting to be unraveled. For each victory, each distraction, each lazy moment, and each initiative we undertook, we would Salut and drink to celebrate the lessons learned.

We found solace in the simplicity of human connection; we had a companion to share the journey with.

The Power of Storytelling

For a brief second, imagine being in the room I just depicted.

What sensations would the warm and cozy atmosphere evoke?

Can you feel the texture of the green velvet chair or visualize the parking lot outside?

This immersive experience is what storytelling offers - a journey through a narrative. Throughout our lives, stories shape our experiences, becoming tales to recount or inspirations for new narratives.

Imagine making your customers feel as engaged and connected with your brand as you felt envisioning that room. Storytelling in business goes beyond mere data presentation; it creates an experiential journey for the customer.

When done right, stories add color to our customer interactions.

Let’s explore this further and how storytelling can impact customer success and your career.


🌟 Storytelling Power

Harness storytelling to create meaningful connections and bring business experiences to life.

📈 Revamping Business Reviews

Transform traditional business reviews by blending in-depth data with compelling narratives.

🎭 Brand Enhancement

Use storytelling to personally and professionally strengthen your brand identity.

🛠️ Practical Storytelling Uses

Implement storytelling techniques in onboarding, business reviews, training, and case studies for more effective customer engagement.

🚀 Advanced Storytelling Tactics

Elevate customer experiences by introducing new characters, altering storylines, setting clear expectations, and re-engaging customers creatively.

Enriching Customer ROI Through Storytelling

A traditional Quarterly Business Review (QBR) typically focuses on data, metrics, and performance analysis in a straightforward, often dry manner. It usually presents what happened in the past quarter, including achievements, challenges, and future goals. The primary focus is on the 'what' – what the numbers say, what the targets were, and what is planned for the next quarter.

In contrast, a storytelling approach to a QBR transforms it into a more engaging and memorable experience.

A Storytelling Recipe for QBR Magic 📈✨


  • Main Ingredients:
  • A comprehensive analysis of the customer’s business.
  • A balanced mix of impactful metrics and key facts.
  • Highlights of major milestones or progress achieved.
  • Finishing Touch:
  • A compelling customer success story.
  • Upcoming goals or Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for the next quarter or year.
  • A hint of opportunities for additional sales or upgrades.


  1. Start with impact by beginning your QBR with a powerful statement or a thought-provoking question that captures the essence of the past quarter's journey. This could be a significant achievement, a surprising fact, or a rhetorical question setting the tone for the narrative.
  2. Weave the facts and figures into a narrative. Share the story of the past quarter, focusing on challenges, how they were overcome, and the journey to achieving milestones. Emphasize the 'how' and 'why' behind the decisions and strategies.
  3. Integrate customer success stories or case studies to add a human element. Highlight how your business's products or services have positively impacted customers, creating an emotional connection.
  4. Use more than just charts and graphs. Include customer testimonials, videos, or interactive elements to bring the story to life, helping the audience visualize the business's journey.
  5. Frame upcoming goals and KPIs as the next chapter in your business's story. Build a narrative for the future, creating anticipation and excitement.
  6. Highlight what the team learned from the past quarter. Focus on successes and growth areas, showcasing these as key elements of the story.
  7. *Don’t forget to make the QBR interactive and conversational. Invite questions, encourage discussion, and engage the audience in the narrative.

Adopting a storytelling approach makes a QBR more than a routine business meeting. It becomes an engaging story of the company's journey, making it more memorable and impactful for everyone involved.

This approach helps stakeholders feel more connected to the business and its mission, and it can inspire and motivate teams by showing them that they are part of an ongoing, evolving story.

Elevating Your Growth Through Storytelling

Embracing storytelling in your professional role isn't just about being a good narrator; it's a powerful tool to elevate your brand and create meaningful connections.

Let me share some key ways storytelling has made a difference:

  • Stories build deeper relations with your customers. It demonstrates your commitment to understanding and valuing their experiences, showing that you've invested time and effort in appreciating their journey with your brand.
  • Stories help you remember. We still remember old classics like Little Red Riding Hood or the Tortoise and Hare story, Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings (okay, I’ll stop now), or The Velveteen Rabbit……
Velveteen Rabbit Image from Friends
(Image from Buzzfeed, 2018)
  • Stories help you connect the dots for your customers. It helps the customer understand the background of the conversation, creates a logical order of events, and helps narrate cause and effect during troubleshooting of issues.
  • Stories help you come up with new ideas and pose different perspectives. As you master the art of telling a story, you begin identifying patterns, contemplating the rationale behind decisions that you incorporate into existing narratives, or building a new one instead.
  • Stories have recall value. Storytelling is known to kick off dopamine, oxytocin, and endorphins – all happy hormones. Stories also help us and our customers remember. This "recall effect" is explained much better by TEDx Talks speaker David JP Phillips.

Other Practical Ways to Apply Storytelling in Customer Success

We share stories in various forms and formats every single day. For all my Customer Success contributors, here are a couple of ways you can start adding value.


While onboarding a new customer, share how another customer of the same segment (based on industry, use-case, spend, and user type) was successfully and happily onboarded. Leverage storytelling to flag and manage TTV (time to value) by raising expected challenges or hurdles that you ran into and what was needed to resolve them.

I once applied this approach to a new customer undergoing onboarding, securing the necessary resources to ensure a seamless onboarding process. This was prompted by challenges and dissatisfaction experienced with a previous customer.


Instead of training the customer to use “feature x,” which will do “y,” you teach them to use the solution exactly how they will use it. If you are a Marketing CRM – send out an actual email to them. If you are an Analytical CRM – use data relevant to the customer’s organization to run analysis and automation. If data and compliance laws at your / your customer’s organization allow, use their own data to paint the picture.

Handling Objections

When a client raises objections, respond with a story of a similar client with the same concerns and how those were addressed and resolved, leading to successful outcomes.

Customer Feedback

When presenting customer feedback to internal teams, narrate the customer's journey, including their initial expectations, experiences with your product, and the impact of the feedback on their satisfaction.

Feature Adoption

Encourage the adoption of underused features by sharing success stories of other clients who integrated these features into their workflow, highlighting the benefits and efficiencies gained.

Upselling Strategies

Share stories of clients who expanded their use of your product or service, focusing on what triggered the upsell and how it benefited their business.

Advanced Storytelling: Taking It to the Next Level

If you are already adept, here are a few ways to enhance your customer connection.

  • Introduce new characters to the story – have different team members or SMEs share their knowledge or best practices with the customer.
  • Pivot the storylines – there is more than one way to tell a story. One can think about the Tortoise and Hare story to mean "Slow and Steady Wins the Race," but another might see it as “Focus on Your Own Race” or “Appearances Can Be Deceptive,” even “Overconfidence Leads to Failure” (ChatGPT, 2024).
  • Talk about expectations – don’t be afraid to push the customer to talk about expectations of their engagement with the product/solution. Show them the vision you have and what you see for them.
  • Revive disengagements through other mediums like personalized emails, documented progress, industry insights, knowledge articles, and surveys with incentives.

Practical Advice

Finally, I leave you with a few realistic pieces of advice.

  • Do you need to tell a story all the time? > No
  • Does it work universally? > Like any novel approach, some will embrace this experience, while others may not express immediate interest. Make certain your storyline resonates with your audience.
  • So why should you try it? > Even if it doesn’t do much for you or your customer, it undoubtedly introduces you to new ideas and new conversational styles, adding value to your personal and professional development. Something that will certainly set you apart.

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