You wake up; spend hours in front of the mirror, carefully painting your face; grab your worn out jersey from the closet; and head to your favorite place in the world: the stadium.
You’re a die-hard sports fan.
There’s not much you wouldn’t do when it comes to showing support for your team. Whether it’s turning your body into a full-fledged advertisement or cheering until you can’t cheer any longer, your dedication is extreme.
We’ve all seen people with this type of complete loyalty on TV and in stadiums around the world. Of course, it’s not just limited to sports.
People will go to great lengths to support something they care about, whether it’s a social movement, clothing brand, charitable cause, rock band, or football team. And the most loyal fans certainly aren’t shy about letting others know how they feel.
But how often do we see this type of extreme loyalty in the business world?
It’s everywhere. Just take a look at some of today’s powerhouse brands: Apple, Starbucks, and Amazon. These brands got where they are today, in large part, by putting significant focus on turning their customers into loyal fans. They do this because they understand the value of a customer who will support their brand, even when things aren’t going well, while everyday customers come and go. Not to mention, they know loyal fans will promote their brand for free.
In today’s fast-paced world, leveraging the power of loyal customers and fans is more important than ever. It’s essential to develop relationships with your customers, turn them into loyal fans, and keep them happy and engaged for life. Without loyal fans, business growth will be slow or, worse, non-existent.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if your customers were as loyal to your business as those of today’s top brands?
It’s entirely possible for your business to see similar results. Today’s biggest, most successful brands have already perfected the formula. They know doing the right things earns their customers’ trust - and in the long run, their loyalty.
All you need to do is follow along, and you’ll be on your way to creating a tribe of loyal fans for your business.
Here are three simple steps to convert your customers into loyal fans:
Focus on customer engagement
I mean really extraordinary engagement. This means going above and beyond email marketing. Sure, having an email list is a crucial, proven strategy for staying in touch with your customers, increasing sales - and ultimately growing your business. But in order to turn those regular email subscribers into loyal fans, you’ll have to go the extra mile.
Think about the last time you had a bad experience with a company that calls you a customer. What was your first instinct? Your first step to rectifying the situation? If you’re like millions of consumers today, you probably thought to reach out via social media. Maybe you sent out a tweet or posted to their Facebook page. You might have asked for help or have given them feedback about a poor experience. What happened next likely determined how far your loyalty for this company will go.
Did they actively listen and respond promptly with a reasonable solution? Or were your comments forever lost in cyberspace? Whatever the outcome, the end result is fairly straightforward. Either you were treated with a high level of service, leaving you feeling appreciated and wanting to do business with them again; or you were ignored, leaving you to search for a new company with which to do business.
When it comes to customer engagement, proper use of social media is essential. If you want to create loyal fans, focus on how you respond to what your customers say on social platforms. This can be the difference between creating more fans or losing customers forever.
Take action on customer feedback
We’ve all experienced various levels of engagement from service organizations, and we know how good it feels to be heard. If your company is truly making an effort to stay engaged with your customers - to interact with them on a personal level - then you’re on your way to creating loyal fans.
Unfortunately, it’s all too common for us consumers to be heard on the “front lines,” but never see action taken from your feedback. I recently invested money with a startup investing platform and asked about an easy way to refer my friends because I like what the company has to offer. When I reached out, I was met with positive engagement and, “Yes sir, we’ll have someone get back to you right away.” Yet, weeks went by and I heard nothing. Upon reaching out again, I was given a link with little helpful information.
They didn’t listen, nor did they take action. This doesn’t make me a fan.
On a more positive note, Amazon does it right. They consistently ask their customers for feedback via short, easy-to-use surveys.
They use this as an opportunity to improve their customer relationships. They aren’t simply fielding complaints, but they’re making a genuine effort to understand what makes their customers happy. And they’ve used that customer feedback to develop all kinds of loyalty-building features into their platform. From Prime benefits to customer reviews to excellent shipping policies, they’ve proven that they listen - and take action on customer feedback.
Want more loyal fans? Be more like Amazon. When you take a genuine approach to ask for customer feedback, they will not only give it, but you’ll be able to understand - and invest in - the things that create loyal fans.
Hire friendly people
Take a look at an Apple storefront anywhere in the world, and you’re likely to see a ton of people waiting for their turn to speak with a Genius. Given the ‘everything online’ mentality of today’s consumer, you might wonder why so many people choose to spend their time waiting in line to speak with someone at an Apple store. Yet if you’re an Apple customer, you know how helpful it can be to chat with one of their experts.
Whether you’re having a problem with one of your devices, you’re considering your next purchase, or you don’t know exactly what tools to use for your next big project, you’re sure to find an Apple Genius with helpful information. They’re well-trained, knowledgeable, and friendly. Most importantly, they’ll always take time to understand your needs and make relevant suggestions.
Apple could likely turn time spent with Geniuses into billable hours, but there’s no need. Why? They understand the value that comes along with providing this type of no-cost, personal service: a great brand experience.
According to RightNow Technologies, “73% of customers attribute their love of a brand to a friendly customer service representative.” It’s no wonder why Apple customers keep buying iPhones and why Starbucks fans can’t wait for their next loyalty reward: they’re emotionally engaged with these brands.
Given the fact that customer service involves people, there’s an undeniable emotional component. The big guys have shown us that friendly employees can do wonders for business, turning everyday customers into die-hard fans. Put an emphasis on hiring friendly people, and you’re guaranteed to see increased brand loyalty among your customers.
What does all this mean for your business?
It all comes down to this: Delivering award-winning service is the single most effective way to create a community of loyal fans for your business.
Consumer behavior may have changed, but their collective perception of customer service has not. When considering which brands deserve their loyalty, most consumers still consider customer service as the most important aspect, so use this to your advantage.
By following three simple strategies used by today’s leaders in creating loyal consumers, you’ll be much closer to creating a community of your own loyal fans.
First, engage your customers in a timely, respectful manner across all social media channels. But don’t stop there. Listen to their feedback and adapt. Make changes to your business that are relevant to what your customers are saying. Your customers will notice, and they’ll give you loyalty in return.
Finally, focus on hiring friendly people. This will make it easy to ensure your team treats customers as individuals and takes a proactive approach to service.
It’s also important to note that you should reiterate your commitment to excellent service in your company values, as well as in communications with your customers. Make sure all employees are well-trained in customer service best practices, not just your support team.
If you achieve all of this you will be much closer to being known for your amazing customer service. But more importantly, you’ll leave your customers feeling great, which will make them as loyal to your business as they are to their favorite sports team.