How to Craft Stories That Resonate With Customers

A storytelling approach can help enhance your marketing efforts and effectively communicate your expertise and reliability

How to Craft Stories That Resonate With Customers

Carter Harkins and Taylor Hill

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During a recent conversation with a client, it became clear that there was a disconnect between what he thought was important and what consumers would be drawn to. That is a story.

Storytelling plays a vital role in building customer relationships. It allows for a deeper connection between the service provider and the customer. For home service providers in particular, storytelling can be an effective tool. It helps in explaining complex concepts, sharing experiences and building trust. Through storytelling, you can communicate your expertise and reliability, creating a strong bond with your customers.

To begin with, understanding the common concerns and needs of your customers is key to crafting stories that resonate with them. Most customers, whether homeowners or property managers, share similar worries: the urgency of fixing a leak, the inconvenience of a clogged drain, or the anxiety around the cost and quality of repairs. Recognizing these issues allows you to create narratives that speak directly to your customers' experiences.

For example, you could share a story about a time your company quickly responded to a late-night emergency call, highlighting the relief and gratitude of the homeowner when a potential disaster was averted. This story not only demonstrates your reliability and skill but also connects emotionally with customers who fear water damage or urgent septic system or plumbing failures.

In another scenario, you might recount a routine inspection that led to identifying and fixing a small issue before it became a major problem. This story could resonate with proactive homeowners or property managers who understand the value of regular maintenance in preventing costly repairs.

By using such relatable scenarios in your storytelling, you can effectively communicate your company’s expertise and commitment to customer service, building a deeper, trust-based relationship with your clients.

While the art of storytelling can be a powerful tool for connecting with customers, it hinges on a few key elements:

Keep it simple: Septic systems and plumbing can be complex, but the stories used to convey it shouldn't be. It's important to break down intricate plumbing issues into simple, easy-to-understand narratives. 

For example, instead of using technical jargon to describe a sump pump installation, you might tell a story about how such an installation prevented basement flooding during a heavy rainstorm. This approach makes the information accessible and relatable to customers who don’t have the plumbing knowledge you have.

Keep it relatable: Stories should reflect scenarios that customers can see themselves in. You could share an experience about helping a family during the holidays when an unexpected issue threatened to ruin their celebration.

Such stories resonate because they reflect real-life situations that customers can understand and empathize with. They see you not only as a service provider, but also as someone who plays a key role in maintaining the comfort and safety of their homes.

Keep it real: Authentic storytelling builds trust. This means sharing successes and challenges and being honest about the realities of your work. Don’t be afraid to tell a story about a particularly challenging job and how it was resolved. This demonstrates your company’s perseverance and commitment to finding solutions.

Customers are drawn to genuine stories that showcase the pumper or plumber's skills, dedication and integrity. Readers also resonate with cautionary tales about how an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so any real-life horror stories of costly repairs that could have been prevented by a simple act or routine check are worthwhile.

By incorporating these elements into your storytelling, you can create compelling narratives that not only illustrate your expertise but also build meaningful connections with your customers.

Crafting a story

When crafting a story, focus on common problems and their solutions. A narrative could begin with a common issue, like a burst pipe. Once the problem is found, let your customers know how bad it got. Then detail the steps taken to resolve it, emphasizing the problem-solving skills involved. The story becomes more impactful when it includes the emotional relief or satisfaction of the customer once the issue is resolved so tell or show that relief.

If possible, including customer testimonials and case studies adds credibility to these stories. A testimonial from a satisfied customer about your company’s quick response to an emergency can be particularly compelling. It provides a real-world example of your expertise and reliability.

Humor and empathy are also essential tools in storytelling and don’t be afraid to use them. A humorous anecdote about a mishap can make the story more engaging and relatable. Similarly, showing empathy by acknowledging the stress and inconvenience caused by septic system problems helps customers connect with you and your technicians on a personal level. This approach makes your company more approachable and relatable, fostering a stronger customer relationship. 

Where do I use stories?

On websites, detailed stories can be shared, like case studies or blog posts about interesting jobs and their solutions.

Social media is ideal for shorter, engaging stories. Sharing before-and-after photos, quick tips with a backstory, or short videos explaining fixes can capture attention.

In advertising, customer stories or testimonials can make ads more relatable and compelling. Narratives showcasing how major plumbing issues were resolved can be particularly effective.

Remember, everything you do should be story-driven. Stories don’t have to be long. A postcard with a picture of a backed up drainline shows the problem. Tell or show how the issue was resolved and explain that they can call you to get their issue resolved as well. The story is uncomplicated and simple to follow: I had a backed-up system, called the plumber, he repaired the problem, and now we’re good again.

Enhance face-to-face interactions with storytelling

Relate past experiences similar to the current job during service calls, providing reassurance through your expertise. 

Engage in active listening and respond with stories that address the customer's specific situation or concerns.

Keep stories brief and relevant in face-to-face interactions to maintain professionalism and respect the customer's time.

All of the above requires your entire team to know relatable stories to use as needed in these situations if they don’t have their own.

Using stories in customer education and support

Create educational content like blog posts or videos that weave in storytelling. For example, use a story to highlight the importance of regular maintenance and how it can prevent larger issues.

During support calls or emails, explain solutions to complex issues through stories of past experiences. This approach can clarify procedures and reassure customers seeking assistance.

By combining these strategies and incorporating this successful communication formula into daily business interactions, you can use stories to enhance your marketing efforts, build stronger relationships with your customers, and effectively communicate your expertise and reliability.

Remember, each interaction with a customer is an opportunity to share a story that not only educates but also connects on a human level.

About the authors
Carter Harkins and Taylor Hill are the authors of Blue Collar Proud: 10 Principles for Building a Kickass Business You Love and the owners of Spark Marketer, a "no bull" digital marketing company that’s been getting sh*t done for home service businesses across the nation for a decade. They’re trusted thought leaders in the industries they serve, which is why you’ll find them regularly speaking at service industry trade shows and conferences and writing for trade magazines. Tired of empty promises and ready for focused digital marketing and balls-to-the-wall dedication that gets your business seen? Visit


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