“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” ~Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

True or False: Every company wants raving fans? Well, “of course”, you may say, every company wants raving fans. Those raving fans tell others all about you. But this is a trick question because there are “good” raving fans as well as “bad” raving fans.

The word fan comes from “fanatic”, which means a person with extreme enthusiasm.

Every sports team has fans, but some of those fans are highly critical, especially when the team is not playing so well. These fans let everyone know that this player is terrible, the coach is an idiot, or the general manager has no clue what he is doing.

The fans you want for your business are the “good” raving fans, those who are so happy with your product or service that they are willing to tell the world about you.

Many times, good fans come from bad circumstances. A product breaks and you get it fixed or replaced immediately, or a service does not meet expectations and you make it right straight away. You end up exceeding expectations, and your customers are willing to stick by you because they know you will do what’s right to correct the situation. Studies have shown 70% of customers will do business with you again if you correct a mistake in a timely manner.

These are the types of fans you want telling their stories. Those people who are so happy with you they wouldn’t think about doing business with your competitors, even if they are less expensive or closer to home. And make no mistake, it is all about their stories, and how you can share them.

In order to capture their stories, you need a platform they can use. Do you have a website, Facebook company page, a Twitter or Instagram account? Encourage your best customers to share their stories and engagements with you. Have them post pictures or videos of them using your product on different social media platforms. Ask them to record a testimonial you can use.

How can you help create great raving fans? Here are a few tips:

  • Create your own story on how your company started, or what the inspiration was behind your product or service. Share stories of struggle and triumph. People will relate.
  • Be enthusiastic about who you are and what you do. Be your own biggest raving fan. You cannot expect others to be enthusiastic about your company unless you are.
  • Train your employees as well as your customers about your business, so they know the background about the products and/or service. The more they see your passion, the more passionate they will become.
  • Have exceptional customer service. Customer service is the new marketing, the new advertising, and the quickest and best way to build your loyal fan base. It involves everyone in your company and starts at the top. It’s an attitude, not a department
  • Create great content for your customers to use and post on all your platforms. Write a weekly or bi-monthly blog. Include stories about some of your biggest fans.
  • Give a little more than expected. Create “wow” moments that go above and beyond expectations.
  • Create a loyalty program.

As you are growing your loyal fan base, you may want to try to get as many testimonials as possible. There are a number of ways to accomplish this:

  • If you are a traditional brick and mortar store, have a camera on hand to take photos or videos of customers who have let you know they are completely satisfied with your product or service. How do you know they are satisfied: Ask!
  • If you are an e-commerce business, you should be asking for reviews online. You can also ask customers to send in pictures of them using your products.
  • Once you get a photo or video with a happy customer, ask permission to put it up on your Facebook page, Instagram account or another platform you may use. Offer them an incentive, such as a discount on a future service or purchase, for doing so.
  • Have an in-store display with pictures of delighted, smiling customers.
  • Have contests, such as the “best photo or video of the month” uploaded and shared. Give a small prize or discount to the winner.
  • Offer surveys, and when you get positive comments, ask to display those as well. (When you get negative comments, make sure you address them. Don’t ignore them, as most unhappy customers will expect. Let them know you want to remedy any concerns or problems they may have, and you take their remarks seriously.)
  • Offer special promotions or discounts to the people who like your page or follow you online.

For the success of your business, it’s all about building long-term relationships that will produce the highest percentage of loyal and devoted customers. The goal is to have them become vocal “Brand Ambassadors” willing to tell all their family, neighbors and friends (and maybe strangers) all about their experiences with you. Once that starts happening, good things are bound to happen.

Paul Rutter is a customer loyalty, repeat business and customer service expert, a keynote speaker, corporate trainer and business author. He has had the unique opportunity to live with his customers and co-workers for months at a time traveling the world, and shares his experiences with land based businesses. For more information on More Than Perfect® Service, contact Paul at Paul@PaulRutterSpeaks.com, follow him on Twitter on @RealPaulRutter or visit him on Facebook/PaulRutterSpeaks.

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