How to turn your visitors into regular clients and devoted fans
At this point, you’ve already come a long way, from developing your product and business model and pricing, to building a great website with good content and structure, your PR, cold mailing and more. Assume that these activities have finally kicked in and the users are starting to visit your website. The sales are increasing, you are feeling good about all the progress you made and ready to pop a champagne bottle. As you should! Always remember to celebrate and appreciate every small victory. Create a list of milestones that are within reasonable expectations but still big enough to make it count, and enjoy every time you cross one out.
Milestones are great way to motivate your team, which are proof of actual progress and really good guidance on your way to success. They are also the beginning of the next step because with every milestone closed, you are ready to conquer another one. At this point, your next challenge is turning your users into ‘raving fans’. In other words, raving fans are the customers who are so excited about your products and services that they can’t stop talking about you. Raving fan is a term popularized by Ken Blanchard in his book “Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach to Customer Service”. In this book you can learn simple, yet brilliant tips on how to set up your customer service and bring your relationship with the customers to a whole new level, so make sure to set aside some time to read the book.
In this chapter we’ll talk more about the raving fans phenomenon, onboarding and how to improve your relationship with the customers. Why is this so important? Well, if you want to increase the profitability of your business, there are only two ways and one does not (and should not) exclude the other. The first one is to increase the transaction of your actual customers which basically means to encourage your current customers to buy more or more often. This is also an easier and a cheaper option for boosting your profits. The other way is to attract new customers as a source of additional revenues. Ultimately, the best approach would be to create a loop of attracting new customers and gradually making them raving fans who will buy more and promote your brand to other people and the circle continues.
Raving fans, onboarding, relationship with customers, quality customer service; these are all a part of your new milestone, so let’s talk more about every one of them and discuss how they can fit the big picture and make your business more profitable.
Before jumping into the secrets of gaining raving fans, we need to go through the most critical ‘points of interaction’ with your customers. It doesn’t matter what is the core of your business – selling products, providing services, doing something tangible or intangible for end customer; there is always a certain amount of service expected at the points of interaction with your customers. Namely, the points of interaction are all situations where you are in contact with your customers, whether it implies your website, social media activities, emails, telephone calls, live chats, or any other outlet through which the customers are trying to find information about your business. Even something simple as a customer who is visiting your website to find out your address should be viewed as a service to your customer. How did his path to the wanted information look? Did he find it easy or did he lose some time looking for it?
Your website, social media profiles, employees who are in direct contact with customers – they are all a point of interaction that can impact on your brand, which is why you must take them seriously. No matter the image you are trying to create in the mind of your customers (professional, trustworthy, friendly, funny, informal, accessible, etc.), every point of interaction needs to be consistent in projecting the same message to your customers. If you manage to do so, you will not only enhance your brand and company image, but you will also make a first step in the process of transforming your customers into raving fans.
Still, before we proceed with the remaining steps of the aforementioned process, let’s talk about two extreme types of customers that you can have – haters and raving fans.
Haters turn up because of the bad customer service and impetuous dealing with negative feedback from your community. One of the most common example of haters are the people who have experienced a poor service and decided to express their dissatisfaction and the company made an ill-judged decision on how to handle the problem. At that point, the worst reaction that a company can have is to not deal with the issue at all or start an argument with the displeased customer.
Remember, customers are always right, and an agitated customer will just look for more reasons to push and share their negative behavior.
For example, imagine that you are running a pizza place. It doesn’t matter how good you normally are, from time to time you will experience a blooper that could possibly create a bad raving fan. Let’s say that a member of your staff has had a bad day and unintentionally messes up an order. Coincidentally, the ordering customer may have also had a bad day which only means that the problem could easily escalate. If your customer approached you and expressed his dissatisfaction (online or offline) don’t argue with him and don’t ignore him. Ignoring and arguing will only serve as a motivation to share bad recommendations about you. Instead of that, thank the customer for his constructive critique, say that you will use it to improve your service, politely ask him to come again and assure him that he won’t have bad experience again and so on. If he is expressing his displeasure in the restaurant, offer him a free dessert or let that “bad pizza” be on the house. This way you can stop the creation of bad raving fan and minimize the negative influence of that person.
On the other hand, raving fans are the ones that are worth pursuing. Raving fans are so happy and satisfied with your service that they can’t stop talking about you. They will encourage their friends, family and acquaintances to visit you and try out your services. They will gladly share information about their positive experience with your company through word-of-mouth and on the Internet as well. The positive impact of good raving fans will be visible through many indicators – increased sale profits, overall profitability, brand awareness, your social media and website popularity, etc.
How to create a good raving fan
1. Create a strong company image
This is the thing we have discussed before. You need to develop a very clear image of your company and instill it in all your employees and communication channels. To help you with that, put it all on paper. Write down your vision – your idea. Describe it in as much detail as you can and contemplate how to apply it in every aspect of your business. In addition, invite your team members to help you with the process. Not only will you have better results, but this will also help them to truly understand what you are trying to achieve.
Moreover, a systematic list of instructions and description of your image will also help new employees to quickly adapt and properly communicate with the customers.
2. Go the extra mile
Appreciate your customers, because they have cost you a lot of time and money to gain. Don’t settle for mediocrity, because that doesn’t create the “wow” effect. Go the extra mile with every individual customer, give them more than they expect and show them your appreciation. Surprise them with additional value and they will share their satisfaction with friends and family, who may also eventually become your new customers.
3. Reward your customers
As I mentioned before, the easiest and the cheapest method of increasing your profits is to sell more to your existing customers. The best way to do that is to reward your customers with loyalty programs. Collect information about your customers and provide them with discounts and special offers. Make them feel special and show them you heartily appreciate the fact that they are always returning to your business.
If you’re running a business-to-business service, use special occasions such as Christmas parties and anniversaries to send your clients greeting cards and gifts. This will show them that you value your relationship and consider them important.
4. Collect feedback and learn from it
The best way to run a successful business is to constantly improve your service by listening to your fans. Give them an opportunity to express their opinion through online surveys, comments on social media, contact forms on your website, in personal communication, etc.
Use information that they give you and always find a way to implement it in your business. Your customers can highlight the details that you might disregarded but that can change the overall success of the business. The bottom line is – customers really appreciate the opportunity to give feedback and they are especially satisfied when they see that you have respected and applied their suggestions.
Now that we listed some tips on how to turn your customers into raving fans, I recommend you arrange a meeting with your team and brainstorm about all the ways you can improve your relationship with your customers.
For even more ideas and information, don’t forget to read the previously mentioned Ken Blanchard’s book – Raving Fans! – https://www.amazon.com/Raving-Fans-Revolutionary-Approach-Customer/dp/0739309 (not an affiliate link!)
We will continue to publish certain parts of the book over time so you get the feeling on value of all the material covered thoroughly in it and invite you to check out the book for yourself at FromZerotoBusinessHero.com.
There is even a big giveaway worth $55K exclusive for the readers (page 125).
We hope you’ll like it as much as we’ve enjoyed working on it.