|Image courtesy of umjanedoan|
Let's start with defining the term first, as I often do. What is a backstory?
Dictionary.com says that it's:
Scenario: A USAA member calls to submit a change of address. Since members are military personnel, USAA knows a little bit about the individual, not the least of which is that an address change probably comes with a larger life change. Agents ask members other questions to understand the customer's backstory, which helps them to determine an appropriate solution and experience for the member.
Maybe that's not a perfect example, but it illustrates how when you understand a little bit more about where the customer is coming from, you can design a better experience for him and likely anticipate needs going forward.
The backstory is also important because it creates a connection, one that is both personal and emotional. The emotions elicited as a result of the story support that customer relationship. They help to create empathy for the customer, as well. Backstories form the foundation for the connection between the customer and the brand. And, in the end, that bond will be what makes people want to see your brand succeed - for the greater good.
The purpose of a storyteller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon. -Brandon Sanderson, The Way of Kings