We all know how important word-of-mouth referrals are to the growth and sustainability of any business. There’s also no doubt that some companies are better than others when it comes to evangelizing their customer base, and growing through customer referrals (companies like Starbucks, Southwest Airlines, and Apple come to mind).
These companies aren’t successful because of luck or some other magical gift. Rather, they all have one thing in common: their core objective is to create customer evangelists.
Each of the companies mentioned above have meticulously built Customer Evangelist Marketing programs, where all internal and external activities are focused on providing an excellent customer experience. Below are three keys to a 050-654-(570A) successful Customer Evangelist Marketing program:
1. A Great Product or Service
Yes, it’s obvious that you need to have a great product to be successful. It is also obvious that most business owners think that their product is great. However, what isn’t obvious is this: greatness is in the eye of the customer. Meaning, it doesn’t matter how great you think your product is… all that matters is the customer’s perception of the product. A great product or service:
- Satisfies a customer need, want, or desire
- Provides a high return-on-investment for the customer (where the benefits far outweigh the costs)
- Improves the personal condition of the purchaser (i.e. makes the customers life better).
- Most of the time, solves a problem that customer didn’t even know he had
So, the question remains, how do you know if you have a great product or service? The answer is
642-994simple: by having a deep understanding of your current and potential customers.
2. A Maniacal Focus on Customers
Everyone will contend that they are focused on their customers… but few of us actually walk the walk. Here is a quick quiz (from the book Creating Customer Evangelists) that will help benchmark how well you’re doing:
- Have you visited with a customer in the past 30 days?
- Do you gather some form of customer input every month?
- Can you describe, in detail, your ideal customer persona?
- Is employee compensation tied directly to customer satisfaction?
- Do you know your average customer’s lifetime value?
- Does your organization focus on creating memorable customer experiences?
- Do your customers feel they are part of your extended family?
- Are your employees empowered to do the right things for customers
- Are your customers, suppliers, and employees really treated honestly/fairly?* *
If you’re like most businesses, you answered Yes on between 4-7 of these. Meaning, you’ve taken some of the right steps, but you’ve got some work to do. If, by chance, you scored in the 0-3… it might be a good idea to re-examine your patient acquisition/retention strategy.
3. Understanding that Business is About People
Successful companies use their current customers to grow. They understand that they need to ask permission to build a relationship, and in order to keep their customers long term, they need to consistently provide value. They also understand that, above all else, people do business with other people.
In essence, the people within a business and the product that the business makes are not mutually exclusive in the eye of the consumer.
As an example, your interactions with the hostess and waitress shape your experience at a restaurant just as much as the actual meal does. And so, it’s always important to remember that word-of-mouth referrals are based on loyalty to people, not things.
Every one of your clinic’s employees are important in creating a memorable customer experience- but few are more important than you. As a clinic owner/supervisor, you have the ability to cultivate a customer-first culture, where the patient experience is above all else. As the many successful companies above can attest, this type of culture breeds customer evangelists, viral growth, and business success.
Note: *I have no problem admitting that much of this content has been repurposed and refactored from the incredible book Creating Customer Evangelists*…which I am undoubtedly an evangelist for. Buy the book and thank me later.
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