How Stories Build Relationships

Recently, I was scammed at Magazine Luiza, a large Brazilian retailer. Someone penetrated my account and bought a cell phone. I noticed immediately and called their customer service. After almost 10 minutes of navigating through the various options in the system, talking to a first employee, being transferred to a second person in the fraud department, and starting to describe my problem… The line dropped.

Annoyed, I called again, expecting to take another 10 minutes to reach the fraud department… But that’s when the system started differently, this time: ‘Hello Felipe, I see here that you were just talking to us, do you want to continue the same subject? ?’ Surprised, I confirmed and, in less than 20 seconds, I was already reconnected to the fraud department!

My problem was solved, don’t worry about it, but that’s not what I want to discuss. What I would like to highlight is how the company surprised and converted a fraud — a fact that should not have happened! — into a memorable story.

We humans are built by stories. Our careers are stories, our projects are stories, our memories are stories… According to psychologist Prof. Jonathan Haidt, the brain is not a ‘logic processor’, but a ‘story processor’.

We sometimes forget this, particularly in our professional lives. Since we have to be ‘rational’ at work, thinking about measures, finances and indicators, we end up thinking that our client loves us because the NPS is very high, that our company is great because we have a good ranking in the GPTW…

We create ‘relationship programs’ and ‘loyalty initiatives’ considering points, cashback, recurrence, and we forget the stories that customers live with us during the relationship, day after day.

In the end, the only things people remember are the stories we give them. The customer doesn’t remember “how much would he recommend to a friend,” but he remembers going to the store with his grandfather as a child, and then he remembers how he was treated surprisingly well on a particular occasion. The employee does not remember what he answered in the organizational health survey, but he remembers when he was recognized in front of others, or when his boss asked him to work late — and, more importantly, how the boss asked and what justification he gave.

So think about it. What stories are you providing to your customers, suppliers and employees? Which stories does your ‘loyalty program’ give access to? What type of stories would you like your company to produce? And how are you proactively acting to create them?

to delve deeper into the power of storytelling, I recommend ‘The Science of Storytelling’ by Will Storr

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