Developing Data Storytelling Skills for CX Leaders

I’ll never forget the first time I presented to a client after joining Authenticx. 

Within 7 minutes of the presentation, the most senior person in the room stopped me and said, “Leslie, you have my undivided attention.” The next thing I knew people started hopping into the meeting and the chat was blowing up with people commenting on the actions they were going to take. 

Action started during the presentation.  

Individuals volunteered themselves to: 

  • Review customer communications. 
  • Explore the digital methods that are supporting patients’ access to care. 
  • Reach out to field managers asking them to clarify with providers. 
  • Re-prioritize efforts to fix one of the main bottlenecks their patients were experiencing.  

There wasn’t an action planning workshop. There wasn’t a post-presentation meeting to decide what to do. Action started immediately.  

Storytelling Through the Voice of the Customer

I’ve been at Authenticx for three years now, and we continue to see a similar response to voice of customer presentations – full audience engagement and immediate action.  

I’ve come to realize that this reaction occurs for two reasons:  

  1. The data source we share is unsolicited customer conversations. It’s immersive. It’s highly contextual, and it’s emotional.  
  2. The approach we use to communicate data is an approach we call data-backed storytelling. And it is the key to unlocking immediate action. 

“You have my undivided attention.”

Healthcare CX Leader, Autenticx Client

Four Steps for Storytelling with Data

When people think about storytelling they typically think about public speaking or data visualizations. They often don’t realize that storytelling is a process. It’s a process that includes: 

  1. Finding the story: Explore the data – start broad and drill into areas of interest. This means identifying themes and synthesizing the connection between the themes and the broader business objectives.  
  2. Crafting the story: With the main message and purpose of the presentation identified, craft a presentation using individual stories to connect the audience to broader themes, which are shared using quantitative data.  
  3. Delivering the story: Present the insights and facilitate conversations that are focused on the actions the business can take to improve the customer experience.  
  4. Holding the business accountable for action: Follow up with the attendees shortly after the meeting to share a summary of the commitments that were made – and follow up with individual members to check on the status of action items.    
Four Steps for Storytelling with Data | Authenticx

Data-backed storytelling is an approach that speaks to both the head and the heart of the audience. It leverages quantitative data that speaks to logic and reason – the head. And it uses qualitative data in the form of customer stories that speak to emotion and action – the heart.  

Often, customer experience (CX) professionals fail to create the emotional connection between the audience and the data that is being shared. Without this connection, the audience is not motivated to act.  

This lack of emotional connection can be attributed to a lack of understanding about the empathy telescope. Shankar Vedantam’s talks about the empathy telescope in his book, “The Hidden Brain: How Our Unconscious Minds Elect Presidents, Control Markets, Wage Wars, and Save Our Lives.”  

According to Vedantam, the empathy telescope is the notion that when we put ourselves in the shoes of others, we’re more likely to act. And it’s the realization that we can put ourselves in the shoes of only a handful of individuals – not hundreds or thousands. This is an important aspect of storytelling because the individual stories we can share with millions of conversational data points are not only more relatable, but it is also directly relevant to your healthcare customer population. 

Storytelling as a Call to Action

In that first presentation I gave after joining Authenticx, I started the presentation by having the audience hear seven customers share their feelings – the feeling the audience heard was a sense of urgency. An urgency that their customers felt about getting access to the medication they desperately needed. The audience imagined that voice being the voice of a loved one, or in some instances their own voice.  

After the audience heard these voices, we showed them their data. The audience saw how that feeling they heard wasn’t just the feelings of seven customers. That feeling was detected in a significant portion of their customer interactions. 

Hearing the raw, unsolicited voices of their customers and seeing the quantitative data captured the attention of the audience – drove more attendees – and most importantly, it garnered the resources for action.  

So, why should customer experience leaders develop data-backed storytelling skills? 

It’s simple – to bring all voices into the room to incite customer-focused action.  

Authenticx On-Demand


Leslie Pagel is the Chief Evangelist of Authenticx – a conversational AI company dedicated to improving the way healthcare companies engage with patients. In this role, she creates awareness, across the healthcare industry, of more efficient and effective ways for healthcare organizations to leverage the authentic patient voice to achieve the desired health and business outcomes. With over two decades of working with customer and patient experience teams, Leslie helps clients actualize the voice of the patient to show how these voices prompt meaningful action. 


Authenticx was founded to analyze and activate customer interaction data at scale. Why? We wanted to reveal transformational opportunities in healthcare. We are on a mission to help humans understand humans. With a combined 100+ years of leadership experience in pharma, payer, and healthcare organizations, we know first-hand the challenges and opportunities that our clients face because we’ve been in your shoes.

Want to learn more? Contact us!

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