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Raving fans are customers who are so happy with your business and the service you provide that they will not only tell all their friends and colleagues about you, but will actually go out of their way to help you sell. Virtually every client of mine in every industry believes that their customers love them. And then they are shocked (shocked!) when they leave. There is an oft-repeated statistic that 68% of customers stop buying because of perceived indifference. Is that really true? I have no idea and it really doesn’t matter anyway because a statistic like that would vary widely by industry.
Should you aspire to turn your customers into raving fans? Well, maybe. Neither Time Warner Cable nor United Air Lines have many raving fans but they seem to be doing okay. There are many aspects to their business strategy, and creating raving fans just isn’t a priority. Raving fans are no guarantee of success nor is the lack of raving fans a sign that the vultures are circling. What raving fans can do, is help you grow through referrals.
If your strategy is to create raving fans and grow through referrals, then there is one key rule you have to keep in mind – under-promise and over-deliver. Raving fans are born when you surprise and delight them with every interaction. It could be that you have a better product than they expected. Or you could have amazing customer service. Or you could say thank you in some unexpected and memorable way. Or, the value you offer could be unbeatable. However you choose to do it, however, if you want raving fans you must exceed their expectations.
When you have exceeded expectations you can create raving fans most efficiently by using some of these techniques
Say thank you in unexpectedly public ways, like sending flowers to their office or hosting a large thank you party
Encourage them to refer friends and relatives
Create membership programs that help your customers feel like they are part of something
Create events that they can invite their friends to attend
Ask them frequently for feedback
Work hard to build an actual relationship with them – know their name and use it, ask them questions, show concern and empathy, help them get the most from their experience with your company
These are the simple ideas. If you have been in business and paying attention for more than a few years, you have probably heard most of them before. But are you doing them?