Tuesday, 8 December 2009

"Turn Your Customers into Loyal Fans"

The other day I had a really nice email from a customer who wanted to thank me for the products they had bought.

As I started reading the email, I thought, "hey, that's kind of nice" but then, when they ended their email with the words, "I just love your stuff!", I thought, "Wow, that's amazing!"

That was when I knew that this person was a bit more than a customer and even a bit more than a regular. They were a Fan!

On our Customer Care courses at ManageTrainLearn, we train people to distinguish between 4 levels of customer service.

At the lowest level, there is customer satisfaction, which means making sure that the product or service you deliver to the customer does everything it's supposed to. This level is not much above the legal requirement of normal day-to-day trade and requires little extra effort on your part.

At the next level up, there is customer care, which suggests doing something a bit extra for your customer, such as making sure they get what they want, can get the best out of it, and hopefully will come back to you again in the future. You can do this by paying attention to good customer care policies and procedures such as guarantees, returns, and complaint resolutions.

At the third level up, there is customer delight. This is where we enter new territory. For delight means a mixture of joy and surprise. This happens when the experience that your customer has simply overwhelms them. It's not likely they will react this way to your policies. It is more likely they will react this way to the way they are treated by you and your team.

At the top level of our customer pyramid comes customer loyalty, the domain of the Fan. When customers love what you do so much that it goes beyond caring, policies, and one-off experiences, you know you've got a friend for life.

So, how do you turn your customers into fans? By doing the following 3 things:

1. Love What You Do. When you love what you do, your customers don't just get a great product or service, they pick up on a powerful energy as well. They see the "you" behind the product and service and that's what they buy into.

2. Put Your Heart and Soul Into It. What your fans want from you is the real authentic you. Even when a new product or change in service doesn't come up to scratch, and maybe even disappoints, your customer fans won't leave you. They'll stick around knowing that the next time, things will be back on track.

3. Give Them Value. A customer doesn't become a fan of yours if you simply see them as a source of revenue and profit. When what you deliver exceeds what they pay at the till, and even goes way beyond, then you'll have a paid-up member of your fan club.

What's great about having fans rather than customers is that you don't need to sell or market to them. They're even likely to be ahead of you eagerly awaiting your next product or service before you've even created it. And for one simple reason.

Because they "just love what you do".

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