That's right. I said it. Trained. Think about it. When was the last time you interacted with a business and thought about how great your experience was? It's probably been a long time. Or when was the last time you felt good about calling a business to get information? "Press one for sales. Press two for billing, press three for..." By the time you get someone on the phone you're probably so frustrated you don't want them to take the time to thank you for holding. Why have we come to accept this as the norm? Most people think they don't have a choice, and to be fair, a lot of the time they don't. If you want to grow your business, you need more than customers. You need fans. Creating fans isn't as hard as you may think, especially online.
Customers vs. Fans
Most companies have customers. Anyone can have customers. All you need is a half-decent product or service and some marketing. If you want to grow your business, you'll need fans. Customers purchase your product or service and may or may not return. The income keeps you afloat and you move on to find more customers. It's boring for you and your customers.
Fans are customers plus something magical. Fans are your loudspeakers blasting out free advertising to people they know. Why? Because they feel special (I have a great case study a little later on in this post). They LOVE your product and something separates your business from the rest. Impress them, make them feel special, and you'll be shocked at how fast your revenue increases. People want to share great finds with people they care about. Why? They want the people they care about to have a special experience as well. Be a great find. Create a stadium of screaming fans.
Do what you're expected to do first and foremost.
The first step in creating fans is to deliver. If you can't deliver what you're advertising, the rest won't matter. If you advertise two-day shipping, partner with a 3PL company (like 3PLzen!) that delivers on their promise of two-day shipping. It's a lot easier to deliver the first time around than to go back and try to make it right after a mistake. Focus on what you do well and do it right.
Do just 1% better.
Yup. Only 1%.... every day and every task. You need to improve a little every day. It might be adding something new to your website. It might be adding a little something extra to your product packaging. I could be sending a few personalized thank yous. Either way, you need to do 1% more and do it often. This, by the way, should be ingrained in your company culture, even if you are the only person in your company. After all, do this for 99 days, and you'll be 99% better.
Attention to detail
Warren Buffet advises business owners to delight their customers. This is the most important factor in creating fans. Do something special with every order. Include a free gift. Write a personalized, handwritten note. Make a thank-you call. Do something DELIGHTFUL. Make your customers feel special on an individual level. Give your fans something to shout about. I promise, they will.
How to delight your customers and a great example
I have a subscription to a pet food company for my dog, Yalla. The company is called Tailored. I'm a fan. A big fan. (And no, they aren't one of my customers. They're just that good.) They always manage to delight me with every order. The product is super high quality and it's always delivered on time (the bare minimum) Here's what makes them different. At the bottom of every case of dog food, they include a gift for Yalla. Whether it's a leash or a toy, there's always something, and it's always branded. They don't advertise this. It's a surprise (Everyone loves little surprises). But it goes even further. In every case, they include personalized stickers with Yalla's name on them. My girlfriend LOVES the stickers. Yalla has personalized stickers on all her stuff now. On every bag of food, Yalla's name is printed clearly on the front. It's great! Tailored staff is responsive, friendly, and delightful. Yalla started getting a little chunky, and they sent over a new recipe to try at no charge. Here I am, a loudspeaker for Tailored. Their cost? A few stickers, a branded dog toy, and a small bag of dog food. Be different and make your customers feel special. You'll end up with fans and lots of free advertising.
Keep up the good work
Be careful not to set expectations you can't maintain. Just as you've been trained to accept terrible service, your customers will be trained to expect great service. You don't want bad loudspeakers. You MUST keep up the good work. It's easy to disappoint your fans. Always improve by 1% and you'll maintain your fans.
We'll help you create fans
Reach out to us. 3PLzen is more than a 3PL company. We want to help you delight your customers. We want to help you create fans. I promise we'll delight you in the process. After all, we love shipping orders. The more fans you have, the more you'll give us to ship!
Questions? Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org