When was the last time you bought something and were so impressed with the experience that you couldn’t wait to tell your friends and family about it?
Most businesses try to get away with just being average. But an average business often produces average results. It's the ones that go the extra mile and exceed customer expectations that create raving fans. Fans who not only buy more, but also share their experience with the world. That's what everyone should be looking for.
What is a real fan?
Regular customers are only satisfied with your service because no one else is doing better. When they get a more appealing offer, they will leave you.
A great fan, on the other hand, won’t change even if they get a better offer. They’re totally emotionally linked with your organization. They’ve adopted your brand into their identity.
Take the real Apple fans. They won’t even consider other products, even if they’re better or cheaper. Apple can afford higher prices or lower battery life than their competition yet customers still remain loyal to their brand. How cool is that?
Today, if you really want a booming business it’s not good enough to have satisfied customers. You have to make them your greatest fans!
It's easy to say that's what you want. It's another thing to do it. Here are five steps to turn your customers into your biggest fans:
1. Fall in love with your customers (and not your product)
Many entrepreneurs and companies mistakenly focus more on their offer than on what their customers really want. The result is (hopefully) a nice product, but does anybody want it?
Love what you do, and be very proud of your product or service, but most importantly fall in love with your customers. Anticipate their deepest needs and make sure you focus on fulfilling them, over and over again.
2. Create a company culture of happy ambassadors
Create strong company values and make sure everyone in your organization adopts them – including you. If great customer service is a core value, it should be visible at all times, in everything you and your team do. Not just hanging on a poster.
Most organizations focus on external contact points like sales and customer service, but like any relationship, it's authenticity that counts. You'll have a hard time fooling the customers pretending you're great if your employees are miserable.
These company values and culture should be the compass to all your decisions, including the talent you attract and the people you partner with.
Your employees are your best (or worst) ambassadors. And there’ is a direct - but often forgotten- link between their engagement and your company's brand, and ultimately performance.
Most do the opposite. They say they have the best product or service, and then underachieve. Some may meet expectations, but it’s not impressive to deliver only what you promised. That makes a satisfied customer. Nothing more, nothing less.
If you're able to exceed expectations in one way or another, you'll stand out immediately. Surprise your customer, smile, be super-helpful and extremely kind. It's rarely something you can prepare in a script. It's mostly an attitude.
4. Listen to feedback
Constant innovation is essential today. Ask your customers what they want. How can you improve? What is their biggest challenge?
Giving them a voice and listening to what they say is a great way to engage them, and the quickest way to take your customer experience to the next level.
5. Reward your best customers
Acquiring new customers is the hardest thing to do. Therefore, the easiest way to grow your business is to better serve your current customers.
Go beyond the classic loyalty cards and small gifts. The challenge is to really make them feel special and appreciated. It's worth it! They're your best ambassadors!
Making your customers raving fans is clearly the competitive edge today. It is not about telling people how great you are, it’s about creating memorable experiences that do the talking for you. Easy to say. Much more difficult to do!
Off you go to the extra (s)mile!