In your physical therapy clinic, you (hopefully) have a of bunch patients who are ‘frequent flyers’; those whose names find their way onto your schedule a few times every year. Because they’ve been in-and-out of your clinic more than most, many of these customers know you, your extended family, and your entire staff (along with their extended family). They can be spotted walking around town sporting a 5 year old raggedy t-shirt with your clinic’s logo & marketing message emblazoned on the front, and at this point you’ve basically assessed & treated every major joint in their body.
But, have you ever noticed that (in many cases) you’ve also assessed & treated nearly every one of their family members and close friends? While you’ve certainly provided this customer with a ton of value over the years, they’ve returned the favor tenfold by telling everyone that’s willing to listen how awesome you are.
I like to call these patients customer evangelists. These walking billboards (sometimes very literally, as in the t-shirt wearing patient from above) are worth their weight in gold, reaching the community with your marketing messages and with far better effectiveness than you could ever hope to achieve.
The above example is just one example of a customer evangelist. These individuals have very specific traits and habits that make them a bit easier to locate:
- Customers that regularly utilize your services and believes in the brand
- Makes a point to offer glowing recommendations to family, friends and coworkers
- Gives the product as a gift (or directly refers friends & family)
- Offers praise, criticism, and other feedback without being asked
- Your dips in quality, convenience, or service are forgiven
- Offers praise without any financial incentive
- Participating in the brand makes the customer feel like they are part of something larger than themselves
I know that you can picture a few of these people in your mind right now. But, I have a few questions:
- How many of these people exist that you don’t know about?
- Why aren’t you maniacally finding every single one of them and assembling an army of customer evangelists?
- Why aren’t you building a marketing strategy with these people at the center?
You can begin answering the first two questions pretty simply. The first step is writing down every customer evangelist that you can think of. The second step is to create and instrument a standard survey to each of your customers (past, present and future). Personally, I suggest our customers utilize a very simple, one question survey. Then, add the people that score highest on your survey to your evangelist list. To make sure you get the survey out to every patient, make it a point to send them out at specific times during their course of care (e.g.: at 1 month and 2 months after initial evaluation).
The bigger your evangelist list grows, the more power you have. All of a sudden, it becomes a lot easier to run a refer-a-friend campaign, or to ask for online reviews, or to run a free injury screening.
In the end, building a running list of evangelists takes the guesswork out of your marketing, increases your return-on-investment, and gives you the tools to scale-ably grow your business.
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