Creating Customer Evangelists

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on April 22, 2008

Having a customer who comes back to you time and time again is great. But even better are those customers who tell their friends, write positive reviews, and blog about your company. How do you create that kind of passion? Creating loyal customer advocates comes down to six factors.

1. Be good at what you do. It’s a basic premise, but it’s impossible to create loyalty without this.

2. Be honest. Make sure that you’re fulfilling your promises and are giving people a fair value for what they are paying you. Customers have to feel that you are trustworthy and looking out for their best interests.

3. Recognize your customers as individuals. People don’t want to be treated like a number; they want to feel as if you actually see them for who they are.

4. Be proactive. Giving your customers what they need now is great, but expecting and preparing for what they will need brings you to the next level. You have the opportunity to become their trusted adviser on how to improve their business or their life.

5. Try to understand the challenges your customers face. Figure out how you can help to make their lives easier.

6. Create chemistry between yourself and your customers. This can be an elusive factor, but it is undeniably important in which business it is that people connect with and choose to continue patronizing.

Pay attention to your relationships with customers. You may think you have a loyal clientele, but in reality, most companies vastly overestimate the loyalty of their customers. Don’t forget, customer satisfaction is not the same as customer loyalty. Satisfied customers don’t complain, but they don’t necessarily tell their friends about you either.

Jim Kane
Senior Fellow
The Brookeside Group
Philadelphia

Reader Comments

kelly

April 22, 2008 8:21 PM

My students have someone else to believe now. Selling is all about developing relationships! Thanks.

Jessica

April 22, 2008 8:23 PM

Relationships are key within a business. When a salesperson is informed on their products and can answer any question, then you know the salesperson is worth buying from. Also, the relationships that salespeople build with you may be the difference between the competition.

ToM

April 22, 2008 8:23 PM

Good information and very relevant to todays business world. It's good to see a continuing push for ethics in customer treatment.

Ellen

April 22, 2008 8:25 PM

The article contains some very wise and interesting information. I will definitely remember this advise.

Dan Danford

April 23, 2008 6:53 PM

I know that you all take care of your customers as described by Jim Kane. In fact you've been operating at this level for so long this comes natural and you've taken your service up a couple of notches beyond his description.
The challenge becomes that your employees don't always feel the same way about your customers and become complacent. That complacency reflects on you and your business, you see it every day.
How then do you keep your employees engaged? I know a VP that is extremely intelligent, can describe process and procedure and teach his employees. This is what he likes to do. But his customers don't recieve the level of service that will make him successful. Why doesn't his training pay off?

Rapport, trust and appreciation. Unfortunately this VP doesn't have the people skills to make that connection with his employees, whether they are District Managers or hourly employees. It takes a level of rapport to get your employees to behave the way you behave toward your customers. You must treat you team with respect! There are many ways to do this but it comes down to basic people skills.


Give credit where credit is due.
Care about your employees. Ask them.
Increase their levels of responsibility, give them some autonomy
If it's your company, reward them for their financial and customer service results. Make them feel like owners.
Take some of the heat for them, and distill what's actions are necessary for them to succeed.
Put development plans in place so they can get to where they want to go, even if it's with another company.
If they leave the company thank them for their service, they may come back some day.
Care about them.

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