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How to turn your customers into raving fans.

Opendoorz member, David Haimes – award winning coach within the worlds largest coaching firm, Action Coach, explains how with a few simple touches along the customer journey you can turn your target audience into your biggest fans who’ll happily tell everyone how great you are.

At Opendoorz we have a mantra. It goes: ‘Meet, know, like trust’. It’s a topic we talk about a lot and is absolutely core to the success our members experience through Opendoorz networking. Building quality, long-lasting relationships with your business network is the only real way, in our experience, to create sustainable success.

This month we’ve asked David Haimes, an award-winning coach with the world’s largest coaching firm – Action Coach, to guest author the Opendoorz blog following a hugely successful Continuous Professional Development (CPD) session he ran. In it, David explained why and how the notion of building a relationship with your prospects and customers through each stage of their journey with you is a sure-fire way to turn them into raving fans, that aren’t just loyal to you but proactively tell others how great you are too.

Over to you, David…

Your client base sits at the very heart of your business, after all without them, there is no business. Attracting, engaging and retaining clients are all distinct marketing and sales functions but together they form the customer journey.

What is the customer journey?

The phrase ‘customer journey’ describes each and every encounter a customer has when interacting with your brand or service; these may be direct or indirect. The journey starts right from the early moments where a customer becomes aware of your brand to their post-purchase experience and follow-up customer service, where hopefully they will loop back to re-purchasing again when they need to.

Rather than viewing the customer journey as a series of ‘staging posts’, I would encourage you to see it as a dynamic continuum where every phase is connected to the other. The customer journey is a cumulative experience with each new experience building on the previous one. Be warned though – one bad experience and the process loops all the way back to the beginning! That’s why it’s so important to understand the journey and spend time thinking about how you interact with your prospects and customers at each step along the way.

Phases of the customer journey

  • Suspect

At this point a potential customer knows little about your brand and you little about them – they are a suspect. The key questions they want answering here are:

  1. What do you do?
  2. How do you help?

At this phase, your marketing activity should be based around raising awareness through highlighting the ways in which you benefit their needs and requirements. It ‘speaks’ to them with carefully thought through key messages and by using channels/tactics that are most likely to engage the potential customer.

  • Prospect

The second stage is where the prospect becomes aware of you and the services you offer and is interested. They can see how you could benefit/help them and understand some of the key differentiators between you and your competitors. Your marketing should become more specific and tailored to that prospect’s needs.

  • Shopper

The prospect expresses an intent to buy. They may even use a lower level of service to begin with to ‘try you out’. At this stage they are seeking some tangible proof that your brand lives up to their expectations.

  • Customer

The shopper is happy and so returns to buy again. They are still revelling in having made a ‘good choice’ by choosing you and feel very positive towards you. Be careful! This is a time when you are riding high in their opinions, any slight chink in the process can mean they become disproportionately disenchanted.

  • Member

They are now settled and comfortable with your brand and feel an affinity with it. This is where sales switches to customer service. Having processes in place that ensure contact is maintained, the client’s expectations are met (or exceeded), and that any issues are dealt with swiftly is crucial. Much of it is common sense – good communication, taking the initiative, delivering value, etc – but when times are busy it is really easy for communication to lapse and when people feel under pressure they may be less likely to take the initiative.  Work hard to ensure they feel part of your brand community.

  • Advocate

An advocate is a client who not only uses you repeatedly but tells others about you as well. Putting energy into converting clients into advocates makes the Marketing and Sales process much easier. Even when advocates are really happy with your service, they often still need prompting to get them to share this.

  • Raving Fans

Turning your advocates into raving fans means they actively tell stories about your company and so are helping to promote and market your business for you. You do still need to ensure that these people feel valued and are not just used as a sales machine though!

So, just how do you get move your suspects along the journey path to become raving fans? Well, without over-simplifying it, you need to thrill, delight and excite them.

Once you understand what the customer journey looks like you can start to identify what ‘touchpoints’, or moments of interaction, there are along the way that give you an opportunity to thrill, delight and excite your customers.

Turning advocates into raving fans

It might sound obvious, but believe me it’s not something many businesses give enough consideration to, but going the extra step, doing the unexpected, and making your customers smile is the simplest way to turn them from loyal customer into raving fan.

You can take a systematic approach to this by identifying your Critical Non Essentials (or CNEs).

A CNE is basically identifying something that you could offer that’s unexpected yet makes people smile and feel positive about you. CNE’s don’t have to big, extravagant things. They can be as simple as sending a client a birthday card but they should add a personal touch to your service that leaves your customer with a warm, fuzzy feeling towards you.

As a challenge, write out a list of CNEs that your business could offer.

The next step is to systemise your touchpoints with a CNE at every opportunity. Be consistent with these small but personal touches that make your customers feel valued and before long you’ll have an army of raving fans telling the world how wonderful you are to do business with!

Find out more about David Haimes on the Opendoorz website:

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