“I’m sorry, Sir,” the grim-looking restaurant manager said to me. “We have a little problem.” An awkward nod from our waitress confirmed his statement.
“Somehow we dropped your credit card into the toaster,” the manager said, before presenting a plate containing a charred potato chip engraved with my name and sixteen digit number.
The acrid scent of burnt plastic wafted from the kitchen.
“Of course, we’re gonna to comp your breakfast, sir,” the manager said.
“Umm, yeah. Thanks,” I said.
Later that morning, I called the credit card company to request a replacement.
“What happened to the card?” the customer support rep asked. “Did you lose it?”
“No,” I said matter-of-factly. “Someone at the restaurant dropped it into the toaster.”
The rep laughed then caught herself. “I’m sorry for laughing, Mr. Ploof.”
“It’s okay,” I said. “It’s actually pretty funny. You can’t make stuff like this up, ya know.”
She chuckled in agreement.
As we wrapped up our conversation, the rep said, “Mr. Ploof, at the end of every week, the team gets together to tell our favorite customer stories. I just want you to know that this week–you’re mine.”
The best business stories are found in little moments like these. They’re the raw ingredients for pure story gold. However, are you mining for them? Has your company made story-mining a priority? Do you encourage your staff to recount their favorite (or least favorite) moments of the week? If not, give it a try. Not only will the team bond over similar experiences, but the company will also gather potential stories to build upon.
Lastly, write these story-starters down. There’s no need to develop them completely–that’s what your writers are for. Just document the highlights. Your professional storytellers can develop them into full-blown stories at a later time.