251/365 - one happy geek [explored]

Raving fans are customers that love your products or services so much they not only tell or their friends and family about your stuff, they show them how to use it and sell it for you.

Raving fans are the holy grail of customers for organisations.

Some say that it costs between 6 -10 times more to attract new customers than it does to retain existing ones. I don’t know what the true figure is, but the real answer is that it costs a lot more and takes more time than it does to retain existing ones.  So, if you’re going to retain your customers you may as well try and turn them into raving fans; because raving fans are priceless.

I wonder, how many people were introduced or bought an Apple product thanks to a recommendation of a friend?

My own introduction to Apple was in 2005 when I visited the South Coast Plaza in Southern California whilst on a business trip and trying to combat jet lag with a colleague. In the Apple store he enthusiastically showed me the iMac and what  I could do with it. Within a few minutes I was working out whether I could get one in to my hand luggage (after paying for it, obviously!).

Every day,  Apple turns thousands of customers like me into legions of fans.

Just imagine what having fans who rave about your products or services could do for your business.

Before we look at strategies to make your customers raving fans lets consider what makes people spread your ideas in the first place. For this we’ll use  Seth Godin’s concept of the Idea Virus which he describes in Unleashing the Ideavirus

Godin says that no one spreads an idea unless:

a. they understand it
b. they want it to spread
c. they believe that spreading it will enhance their power (reputation, income, friendships) or their peace of mind
d. the effort necessary to send the idea is less than the benefits

And no one “gets” an idea unless:

a. the first impression demands further investigation
b. they already understand the foundation ideas necessary to get the new idea
c. they trust or respect the sender enough to invest the time

You can imagine the first people who got their hands on an iPad. Sure, no one had seen one before but people quickly “got it”, in fact most people within 10 minutes of holding and using one people quickly get it and think of an excuse to buy one (regardless as to whether they actually need one) thanks to its ease of understanding, they quickly “get it” and want to share it with their friends
, sharing such a cool product reflects well on them and thanks to Twitter and Facebook, the effort required to share it is minimal.

So consequently, if you want to have fans  raving about your product or service then you need to ensure that you have a simple idea that people can easily spread. For example most of my business comes from repeat customers telling their friends ands how they made more money working with me, the concept is easy enough to understand and the sharer’s reputation is enhanced by letting others know “the secret to success”. Again effort to share is minimal, usually via conversation.

So you get the idea. First make the idea shareable, then  we’ll look at ways to make your fans share your ideas:

Then you should seek to create a CAREing strategy which you must apply across your business and ensure every member of your team knows what role they have to play in turning customers into raving fans.

C – continuously staying in touch with your customers throughout the year
A – appreciate your clients and their ongoing business
R – remind your customers of what you can do for them
E – educate them with ideas that will help them further

Here are some simple tips that you can implement today to help turn your customers into raving fans:

Send them thank you cards after theyve done business with you

Never over promise, under promise and over deliver

Call them up frequently and ask them how their business is going

Invite them to special events or sales, which aren’t available to the public

Find out what you can about your customers so that you can let them know when something comes into stock which they might be interested in.

Regularly as ask them for feedback and suggestions as to how you can provide better service to them.

Constantly follow up, then follow up again

None of this is difficult to implement but it does involve having systems and strategies in place to ensure that the creation of raving fans is a strategy. This is a rinse and repeat strategy meaning that you having to do these things constantly.

What are your experiences of creating raving fans? Please share your thoughts in the comments below

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