How to Turn Prospects into Raving FansMuch has been written in recent years about the WOW factor, that unique aspect of certain businesses with service that overwhelmingly surprises customers by continually exceeding their expectations.
Like most winning strategies, it begins with fundamentals, and progresses toward service mastery. The key at the beginning, however, is consistency, one aspect of service most businesses fail to focus on, or take for granted.
The purpose of business is to profitably create Raving Fans. But the first part of this is being systemized and consistent in your current level of service. It's also important to remember people will pay for service, if it's the service they desire.
So owners need to find out what those keys are for their particular business. Most often, it's a matter of asking. Your customers will give you the feedback you need to start a great customer service program. At its first rung, a business should look at its target market as a pool of suspects. Suspects are potential leads, and are based on a customer profile. At its simplest, a target profile describes suspects in terms of average age, income, orientation toward being skewed more male or female, and an average sales figure for each transaction. Above the suspect rung is the prospect rung, defined as anyone who calls up, walks in, expresses an interest for a product or service, or requests more information about the business.
At the prospect level, the target audience has taken action at some level. Now it's up to the owner to start compiling information and details, like names, contact information, and a reference for how that prospect heard of the company. That, in turn, is the start of a customer data base the owner can use a variety of different ways. It also gives the owner a clear picture of the type of buyers the business is attracting. From shopper to customer
What can a business do to confirm those details? People will give information if there is something in it for them. Maybe it's a frequent buyers club or they get a gift for making a purchase that day. There are unlimited ways to creating win-win where the owner gets the information he or she needs, and the buyer gets something for that information. A shopper becomes a customer when they buy a second time. A second purchase is an important step in building a long-term customer relationship, because studies have shown it is 6-times easier to sell to a shopper, and 10-times easier to sell to a customer than to make an initial sale to a suspect from the target audience.
A member, the fifth rung on the ladder, is a customer who will tell others about your product or service if asked. Ideally, it will be positive word-of-mouth.
There's an old saying that a satisfied customer will tell three friends, while dissatisfied customers will tell everybody. That's why consistency in every service touch point is so important. You want to
develop good word-of-mouth. It's far more valuable than even the best advertising.
An advocate, the sixth rung on the ladder, is a member who tells others about your company, product or service without being prompted. Advocates can be true business-builders for companies, because they get businesses real results through referrals.
Getting to Raving Fan status is the result of putting your customers first and having exceptional relationships with them from the beginning. A lot of that involves getting the details right, and empowering front line team to go the extra mile all the time. It's also worth remembering that fan is short for fanatic.
So the question for a business owner is, "Can a business create a fanatical following for its customers?"
It all starts with the basics and the fundamentals. That's where we start with all of our clients. You can't master something you don't have fundamentally sound. It's like any other exercise or process. You have to start at the first rung of the ladder before you can get to the top.