Imagine having an army of people that go out into the world and sing the praises of your business. They direct their friends, family and anyone they meet that might be a good fit to your business’s products and services. This can all be possible if you can successfully convert your customers into brand evangelists for your business. An evangelist is someone that will go out and sing your product/service’s praises to anyone that will listen. There is no more credible referral for a new customer than a narrative of sincere satisfaction from someone they know.
Steps for Success:
Nail The Initial Customer Interaction - This includes making a great first impression when that prospective customer first engages your business, product or service. You need to deliver excellent experience in all its forms throughout the active portion of providing your business’s product/service. If something goes wrong, fix it. You can build customer confidence and potentially even greater levels of overall satisfaction by providing solutions and fixing any problems that come up.
Pay Attention - Listen during every interaction with your customers for clues to their satisfaction. It’s definitely a good sign on the road to a customer becoming an evangelist if they are gushing with praise about your company, your product/service or about an interaction with a member of your staff at any point.
Be Sincerely Interested In What Your Customers Think & Believe - Beyond listening, you need to ask your customers questions to see how they are enjoying/finding/utilizing your product or service. Have this conversation in-person or over the phone, though in-person is definitely better. Some customers won’t be immediately forthcoming with their satisfaction (or dissatisfaction). Be prepared to receive feedback that’s positive and negative. Especially if you’re asking them questions related to post-purchase satisfaction, you need to be ready to solve problems that your customers have encountered.
Finalize The Conversion From Customer to Evangelist - Like many things in life you’ll know a very satisfied customer when you talk to one. The key is listening for a comment from that customer like – “I’ll definitely tell my colleagues/neighbors/friends about your XYZ” or “this is the best service I’ve ever received” or “the quality of your product/service just destroys the competitors.” Once you have a positive indicator for a satisfied customer from your efforts in any of these Steps for Success, then you need to initiate a 1-on-1 meeting with that customer.
This meeting can take many forms, the best being an offer to take the customer out to lunch or for coffee. Take the opportunity during this 1-on-1 interaction to ask your customer about their business/work, their hobbies and family. You want to get to know your customer as a friend and vice versa. This meeting should not be focused on selling anything, it’s an attempt to develop a genuine, real friendship. You never know what the types of positive effects will come out of these interactions.
An evangelist wants to have a personal connection with the product and service they’re telling others about. There is no better personal connection than being able to say, “I know the owner and I’ll put you in touch with him/her.”
Conclusion – First, make your customers happy and then get to know the most satisfied among them. It will be time well spent. In the end, you will likely only have a small fraction of your overall customer base that will be true evangelists but that’s okay. Even as a small portion of your overall customer base, this loyal following can be extraordinarily effective and impactful for your business. Take the time and try to convert your most satisfied customers into evangelists. An energized evangelist referring other customers to your business is worth more than you might expect.