Evangelical customers are the goal of every company. Why? Because they have built such a positive relationship with a company and fostered such love for it, that they proclaim its virtues to anyone who will listen. Evangelical customers become your best and strongest sales force, and they do so without expectation of compensation. So how do you start building an evangelical customer base?
No employee should start representing your company without first understanding the company culture they have joined. Go beyond an orientation of mere logistics and benefits review so that they actually become a part of your corporate culture.
Disney has each new employee attend a “Disney college” known as Disney Traditions. In the one day course, each new employee is introduced to the past, present, and future of Disney’s story and comes to understand his or her role in the company’s continued success. Prioritizing your corporate culture will make it easier to give your customers the unique experiences they will fall in love with.
Creating the opportunity for your customer to have an emotional experience with your company requires moving beyond a simple transaction. Give your customer something to care about by surprising them with your thoughtfulness until they can’t help but fall in love with you.
In a story of excellent customer service, a woman named Christina had logged an inquiry with Gaylord Opryland Hotel regarding the availability of a particular alarm clock she had enjoyed in her hotel room on her 3 prior visits. Opryland responded to Christina that the clock with the spa sound feature she adored was not available for purchase by the public. But Opryland had a surprise up its sleeve… Upon her next stay at the hotel, Christina found not one, but two alarm clocks in her room. The second was accompanied by a handwritten note, gifting the clock to Christina so that she could enjoy it at home!
By seizing this opportunity to surprise Christina, Opryland took a customer who quite enjoyed her stays there and converted her into someone who loves Opryland, “You reaffirmed that there are still companies out there focused on great service, and you’ve made a lifelong fan out of me.”
Bring the humanity back
Customers care about the companies who make it obvious they care about their customers. But how do you show your customers that they mean the world to you? Start treating your customers like you would treat your neighbors and they will soon understand that your company will help them in their time of need, whether the problem is large or small.
A Trader Joe’s grocery store in Pennsylvania is a shining example of this mindset. A woman from out of town had frantically been calling grocery stores on behalf of her 89 year old father. A large winter storm was set to arrive and she was worried that her father would not have enough food to see him through the storm. Every single store she had called had told her they could not deliver groceries and dismissed her. But not Trader Joe’s. Remembering to be human and take this woman’s concerns seriously, they stepped up, like a good neighbor, and told her that they would make an exception and deliver groceries to her father. You can imagine her further surprise when they told her that it was their pleasure to deliver all of the food without any payment whatsoever! Trader Joe’s did the right thing because it was the right thing and thus set themselves far, far apart from their competitors.
By taking the time to know who you are, giving your customer positive emotional experiences, and remembering to react like a good neighbor, you will be well on your way to developing loyal, evangelical customers who can’t wait to sing your praises to anyone willing to listen.