When was the last time you thought about the difference you’re making in the lives of your customers? Not how you help their business ‘increase efficiency’ or ‘generate more revenue’, I’m talking about the real difference you make in the careers and lives of the individuals who made the painstaking decision to adopt your product or service? What was it, at a personal level, that inspired them to choose you? What pain were they trying to solve, and how have you helped them as individuals be happier, more productive, more confident or more successful?

It’s something we often overlook in our ravenous hunt for case studies and ROI results, but these personal stories can be even more compelling — not only for your marketing and sales teams, but for your entire business. It’s about getting to the heart of the value you bring to the individual customers that depend on you. It’s the human story of progress and triumph — something we can all relate to at a very personal level.

This is something our own team here at Vidyard has put more of a focus on lately, inspired by our friends at Frost and Sullivan who recently awarded us with the Customer Value Leadership Award. Like any good business, we’ve always felt that we were delivering value to our customers. But when we started asking the right questions to learn how our customers felt about us personally, what we learned was pretty amazing, and truly inspiring. We started by asking a few simple questions that I encourage you to add to your own customer interviews:

“What does Vidyard mean to you personally? Why is it important to you? When have you felt a true sense of value from using the product or interacting with our team?”

We started discovering real people that are more confident in their work because of the data and insights they now have access to. Others who have progressed their own careers and defined new roles within their companies because of what they’ve learned from our business or accomplished with the product. Some have established themselves as industry thought leaders and public speakers. And others value the personal relationships they’ve developed with our team, or the way our content makes them pause and laugh every now and again. We even had one customer say that it would “break their heart” if their company ever stopped using our product. Even our engineers welled up with tears when they heard that one — it meant so much more than hearing about another business-level ROI metric.

These are the types of stories that will help you understand the real value that you’re bringing to the community. The stories you’ll want to share not only with your prospects and customers, but with your own employees, partners, friends and family. They expose a greater purpose behind what you do and how you make a real difference in people’s lives. And they can inspire others within your business to be at their best, and to take pride in what you do.

The natural next step once you have these stories is to bring them to life in very tangible ways. Quotes and written stories are a simple starting point, but you’d be crazy not to get these stories on camera in a way that brings that emotion to life! I’m talking get-out-the-box-of-Kleenex kind of content. But don’t stop there! Find other creative outlets to keep these stories top-of-mind for everyone in your company. Put life-size cardboard cutouts of your top advocates with killer quotes all around your office. Produce fun ‘sports cards’ with your customers on them including their ‘stats’ and top quotes, then circulate them around the office — maybe even get them autographed! Or create some fake album covers featuring pictures of your key advocates as rock stars and use their quotes as song titles on the back (note: if you are not familiar with albums, also known as records, they were 12-inch pressed vinyl discs used in the Stone Age to record and play back music).

There are loads of possibilities, and it’s something you can have a lot of fun with. I’d love to hear more ideas in the comments section below! Have you done anything interesting with your customer testimonials to bring them to life in your office or online? How do you think customer advocacy can be ‘brought to life’ in a way that is meaningful for a modern business?

Tyler Lessard