Are you creating ‘Superfans’?
Giving someone a customer experience that they won’t forget is one step toward creating a customer for life. Pete Baker outlines some tips for turning your clients into ‘superfans’.
As many of you may know, I grew up in the Bahamas. I have the great opportunity to travel back to the Bahamas frequently to visit relatives and check on our family store. During a recent visit a few months ago, my wife and I had one of the most impactful customer service experiences of our lifetimes.
We were near downtown Nassau and looking for a place to enjoy some dinner. As we strolled along the boardwalk, near Junkanoo Beach, we spotted an interesting restaurant called Tiki Bikini Hut. Although I have walked past this area dozens of times, I had never dined at this particular restaurant. We decided to give it a shot.
As we approached the hostess stand, we were asked our names. Much to my wife’s embarrassment, I respond with a common quip of mine, “just think Peter Pan, for Peter and Anne.”
Upon providing our names, a loud declaration was made by the Maître d’: “Please help us to welcome Peter Pan!” The entire restaurant then erupted in cheering, whistles, and cowbells to welcome us to the establishment.
That was just the start of a series of positive experiences at this restaurant. Shortly after we were seated, the owner of the business came to our table to personally welcome us to the restaurant. He then asked if he could get us anything to drink. My wife ordered a tropical concoction and I asked if he had any Kalik (the local beer). He responded: “I am not sure if we have any, but don’t worry, I’ll get it for you.”
It turns out, as I later discovered, that they were out of Kalik in the restaurant. Not willing to disappoint a customer, the owner had someone run down the street to buy some Kalik beer for me to enjoy. Shortly after, the food started arriving, but it wasn’t just what we ordered. The owner wanted us to fully enjoy his restaurant, so he provided us with a sample of all the appetisers they had to offer!
We stayed for several hours, watching in awe as each guest who arrived was greeted with the full vigour and excitement shown to us. Not only did the arriving guests enjoy this encounter, but the rest of the patrons had even more fun clanging the cowbells, clapping and cheering and getting fully immersed in the experience. As we left the restaurant that evening, we had several employees share their gratitude and thank us for visiting Tiki Bikini that night.
I guarantee that no one who visited that restaurant would soon forget the experience they had as a customer.
So, how can we apply this to our businesses and create ‘Superfans’ for our brand?
Most likely greeting a new customer with cowbells and cheering when you first meet them may not be appropriate in our business. Regardless, it does raise the question of how we can create a positive impact, for customers at each touch point. The following will outline three opportunities where you can create superfans through interactions with clients.
There are a few different ways you can prepare for client interactions. How you prepare will depend largely on your business model. Do you have a showroom or office space where you will be meeting with the clients? Are you keeping it presentable? Are the bathrooms clean? Have you tested all your equipment to make sure it’s working properly? Are all your employees on the same page?
Preparing the space where you will be meeting your client in can be a game changer. A neat and tidy appearance and ensuring each of your employees knows what they can and should do to impress each visitor, could very well be what elevates your business above competitors and helps to win the project or sale.
I am confident that Byron, who owns the Bikini Tik bar, has communicated with his team to ensure each of them is 100% focused on delivering a positive and memorable experience to each customer visiting his restaurant.
Whether you have a showroom or not, there are other ways you should prepare. In our digital world, making sure your online presence is crisp, clean and user friendly is just as important. Your website, online ads and communication methods are your virtual showroom, and you should treat them as such.
Is your website easy to understand? What benefit does it (intend to) deliver to visitors? Does it have an appealing aesthetic? Do you have a quick response time if someone reaches out over email or social media? Asking yourself these questions and continually finding ways to make your online interactions more effective, beneficial and client friendly will only get more important in the years and decades to come.
If you succeed in securing a sale or a project with a customer, your efforts to impress them shouldn’t end there. Give them reasons to stay excited about working with you. Make their experience with you different than it would be with any other business.
For me, especially when handling installations, I’ve found that communication is key. Your client is going to be letting strangers into their house, sometimes for many days, to complete this project. Make sure you are setting their mind as ease by communicating everything with them beforehand. Let them know how the installation process will progress and update them throughout the process on how it’s going.
I’ve found how beneficial it is to communicate with the client during the entire installation process, they understand what’s going on and feel involved in what’s happening to their home. I would further encourage you to share similar updates with the source of the referral along the way; the builder, architect, interior designer, etc. I can tell you that this simple exercise created an incredibly successful and consistent referral stream for my business.
Finally, when you’re reaching the end of the project, check in with your client periodically to see if they have any questions and ask how the feel the process is going for them. Has anything changed since that initial proposal that they might want to consider or change?
So often I hear of and see customers dissatisfied with the experience and nearly always it is related to poor communication: setting expectations, failure to provide updates, or simply asking “how are we doing for you?”. When companies skip much of this communication, clients will often come away from it feeling like the company and installers were cold or that they felt uninvolved and unaware of much of what was happening to their home.
So you’ve completed the project, and you’d like to make sure your client is happy with their new system. There are a couple of things that I’ve done at this stage that have worked well for me.
The first is: I made a habit on the first Wednesday of every month, I would reach out to all the clients with whom I had completed projects in the previous month. I would ask them how their system was working, do they have any questions, did it meet or exceed their expectations and whether they wanted us to come back to the home and provide another tutorial to their family.
I would tell each client at the start of the project: “I want you to love the system we design for you and want you to hold us accountable for this at the end of the project”.
So, did we accomplish this goal? We would ask each client to please provide us with a quick written comment on their experience working with the company and team. I would also incentivise my installation team to receive this feedback – good, bad, or otherwise.
Another thing we did at the end of the project, as a form of gratitude, was to give each client a handmade, ceramic popcorn bowl. This bowl was custom made with our logo, a thank you and our phone number on it, as a constant reminder of our gratitude. The bowl would have some popcorn, candy, and movies in it for them to enjoy with their new system.
Finally, I would be certain to remain in contact with our past customers, by sending them quarterly email updates letting them know about any new technology coming out and most importantly to check in with them.
The bottom line is you should never take your clients for granted. Whether you’re interacting with prospective or existing clients, you need to continually invest in them, like you are asking them to invest in you. Give them a reason to be a superfan of your business, set yourself apart from your competitors and as always, think BIG!