THE ABC’S OF CREATING SUPERFANS: A LETTER-BY-LETTER GUIDE TO SUPER CUSTOMER EXPERIENCES
Superfans are customers whose experience with your brand is so great that they can’t help but tell others. They’re loyal advocates you can count on for reviews, referrals, and repeat business.
When done right, carefully-curated customer experiences can take potential purchasers from apathy to advocacy in a remarkably short period. People who would have given you zero consideration before can be turned into zealous supporters.
And, don’t worry if you’re not familiar with CX lingo. I promise not to dwell on the ROI on CX, or estimating the LTV of customers in your CRM, or even which KPIs to track for improving NPS scores. This is a jargon-free guide to one thing: Creating Superfans!
This list isn’t meant to be followed to the letter (I couldn’t resist…), because the best customer experiences vary from brand to brand based on the DNA of you, your team, and your company. But, I hope these ABCs inspire the creation of customer experiences that will have your customers singing your praises.
A IS FOR APPRECIATION
Never take it for granted that your customers know you Appreciate them. It’s always advisable to tell them, but showing them is absolutely imperative.
Superfandom is a two-way street. If your customers feel like they don’t matter to your brand, your brand isn’t going to matter to them: Apathy is the enemy of every company. If you want to build affinity, you’ve got to be authentic in showing your appreciation. Amaze your audience, and you’ll create advocates almost automatically.
B IS FOR BETTER
The brands that are best known for amazing customer experiences never settle, and they never stop iterating. They always want to get Better. That’s because they know the secret to success is making their customers’ lives… you guessed it… better.
Whether your business is B2B or B2C, remember that you’re ultimately H2H: Human to Human. Be bold in your attempts to constantly add benefits that make every part of your buyer’s journey better.
C IS FOR CONNECT
The key to creating superfans is to Connect your story to each customer’s story. That connection is the key point that separates you from your competitors in the mind of your customers. Be creative — and don’t shy away from customization — in order to forge the authentic connections that will make YOUR brand a core part of your customer’s consideration set.
D IS FOR DATA
If you’re diligently tracking Data, deploying devices to delight customers at scale becomes less daunting. The most important data vary by industry, so take a deep dive into yours. Dig into the details that help you better understand your customers. Double down on tracking meaningful metrics, and dare to dump the ones that don’t make a difference until you’re completely dialed in on delighting your buyers.
E IS FOR EXPECTATIONS
The quickest way to elicit excited reactions is by exceeding your customers’ Expectations every time you engage with them. When you do, they’ll be eager to expand their relationship with you.
Align every employee around this end goal: Exceed expectations every time, in every way possible. Expressing empathy is one way to exceed expectations; listening effectively is another. These actions make each experience exponentially more enjoyable for everyone involved — employees and customers alike.
F IS FOR FEEDBACK
How do you continue to improve customer experiences? By seeking — and following through on — Feedback. Ask your customers for their feedback and you’ll likely find they are happy to share it.
Focus on refining your product(s) or service(s) until they’re fabulous. Fans — and fortunes — will follow.
G IS FOR GENEROSITY
Give, give, give… and then give some more. Be good to your customers, great to your employees, and generous to your community. It’s so much easier to succeed with a Generosity mindset than with a scarcity mindset. Set giving goals, and then go crush them. Be generous with your time, your knowledge, and your good fortunes.
H IS FOR HAPPINESS
With few exceptions, being in the Happiness business is smart business. Each interaction with your customer has the ability to be a net-positive, a net-negative, or a net-neutral on their emotions in the moment. Try to increase their happiness level: Be helpful, be human, and be humble, and they’re much more likely to walk away from the experience feeling happier than when it began.
I IS FOR INTEGRITY
It is imperative to infuse integrity into every interaction. Treat everyone with integrity: Your customers, your employees, your vendors, your stakeholders, and everyone in between. If you don’t, everything else you do is irrelevant.
J IS FOR JOURNEY
Every interaction a customer has with your marketing materials and employees comprises the so-called “Customer Journey.” You want that journey to be as long as possible — hopefully, a lifetime! — so you’ve got to justify the customer’s decision by exceeding their expectations at every turn. Don’t get jaded, or just do the bare minimum.
Focus on removing friction at every interaction point along the journey, not just the ultimate destination (or sale).
K IS FOR KEEP IN TOUCH
The key to Keeping in Touch is to know how often your customers need and want to hear from you. The appropriate level of communication varies by business: Don’t ghost your customers (you want to be top of mind when they’re ready to buy again or recommend you to a friend), but don’t drive them crazy with endless emails, texts, or calls, either.
Ask yourself this key question before hitting “send” or picking up the phone: What’s the purpose of this contact, and how does it serve the customer? If your answer is solid, go for it! If not, keep trying until you know this point of contact adds value to your customer in a meaningful way. It’s not only smart but also the kind thing to do!
L IS FOR LOYALTY
Loyalty is the largest payoff of a well-executed CX strategy. While not every customer is going to love you (although you should listen carefully to the feedback of those who don’t!), those who do love you can become loyal, long-term buyers with high lifetime values.
One mistake a LOT of companies make is treating new customers — or prospective customers — better than existing, loyal customers. This is a terrible marketing strategy! It’s lazy, too. Attracting new customers is much more expensive than retaining existing ones. Don’t make your current customers feel second-class or give them a reason to leave. Loyalty should go both ways. The level of service (and pricing, and offers) presented to longtime customers should be at least as great as what you’re using to woo new customers.
M IS FOR MAGIC
Make your customers’ experience feel as much like Magic as possible. Remove friction at every point in your sales process, even if the friction point seems marginal. No one is excited about spending money with a company that feels mundane. Do more. Work meticulously to magical moments — not just in your marketing, but in every interaction. It all matters.
Magical-seeming CX doesn’t miraculously materialize; you’ve got to make it a priority and mobilize ALL the troops around your message to move the machine forward.
N IS FOR NEXT
Focus on long-term relationships, not one-time transactions. Instead of chasing the next customer, fixate on how you’re going to serve this customer’s needs Next. As in: How do you keep adding value? What novel thing can you delight your customers with the next time you interact? Nail this habit and you’ll never have to worry about noise from your competitors again.
O IS FOR OBSESSION
Object to anything other than an outright Obsession with customer satisfaction. Happy customers create more orders. That should be obvious, but it occasionally bears repeating. Being ordinary is not an option. If you aren’t obsessing about how to improve your customers’ lives on an ongoing basis, it’s only a matter of time until they’ll be looking for other options.
P IS FOR THE PLATINUM RULE
The Platinum Rule is a philosophy that promises perennial payoffs. Treat others the way they want to be treated. Get passionate about this planned personalization. It can take patience to perfect, but — when implemented properly — leads to prosperity practically 100 percent of the time.
Q IS FOR QUALITY
There’s no question that Quality is a critical component when creating superfans. Don’t be too quick to rush products or services out before they’re qualified, or you’ll have a quantifiable quandary! (And yes, you can quote me on that.)
R IS FOR REPETITION
How do you earn a reputation for being the best? Repetition. Customers deserve (and demand) predictable and consistent results when they engage with your brand. Resolve to be predictably great, and you’ll reap real rewards: Great reviews, referrals, and revenue, for starters. Research routinely reports high ROI and retention rates from companies that excel at CX, but CX doesn’t occur randomly. Resolve to make repetition a real focus.
S IS FOR STORY
The secret to creating superfans is to connect your Story with every customer’s Story. It really is that simple. If you can show them that you’re satisfying a sincere need, they won’t be searching for something (or someone) else to solve it.
Start with your story. It’s your signature superpower — and every salesperson should strive to showcase it successfully.
T IS FOR TEAM
Nothing transforms turbulent CX faster than an aligned Team of talented employees. Task your team with treating customers thoughtfully. And, take the time to thank them. Customers rarely receive better treatment from your team than what your team receives from top leadership. Follow the Platinum Rule, and you’ll stay out of trouble!
U IS FOR UNDERSTAND
“Understand each customer’s story” is Step #2 of my SUPERFANS System. If you’re unclear on your customer’s story, you are unable to connect your story to theirs — which, unfortunately, makes creating superfans almost impossible.
Take the time to uncover the uniqueness of your customers. A universal understanding of their underlying motivations will give you the upper hand in your sales, marketing, and CX efforts. Undertaking the task of customer discovery will ultimately improve everything about your business.
V IS FOR VALIDATE
Here’s a valuable lesson, straight from Oprah: Every person you ever meet wants the same thing… Validation. Validate your customer’s feelings, vision, concerns, and viewpoints. Let them know you value their voice and that their vote matters, and you’ll very likely be victorious in your valiant quest to create superfans.
W IS FOR WOW
When you can make your customers say WOW!, you won’t ever find yourself without word-of-mouth marketing. What are you doing to wow your customers? It should begin with welcoming them warmly and continue with wonderful moments throughout their brand journey, regardless of where they’re at or which department they’re engaging with.
X IS FOR X-ING OUT
Do you know what’s exciting? The thought of X-ing out all of your competitors, which is what effectively happens when you become a category of one. Think about it: There are brands and products you’re so loyal to that you wouldn’t even consider trying another brand, no matter what extra incentives were offered.
When you can capture that level of extreme devotion from your customers — first, by having a great product or service, and second, by providing amazing customer experiences — your competitors might as well have X X X over their names.
Y IS FOR YOU
You guessed it… you’ve got to put your brand front and center if you want to create superfans. This means getting SUPER clear on your story because you’ve got to connect your story to each customer’s story if you want to create superfans. This goes for your company’s brand and your personal brand.
The good news? You know YOU better than anybody else! Your team members should all be empowered to put their personalities forward in pursuit of superfan-worthy customer service, too. Don’t overthink it… you’ve got this!
Z IS FOR ZENITH
Google’s primary definition for Zenith is “the time at which something is most powerful or successful,” which is the perfect way to wrap up our alphabetical list. That’s because, when executed correctly, nothing is more powerful for your brand than delivering SUPER customer experiences. When you get that part right, you’re almost guaranteed long-term success.
There’s zero question about it: if you create amazing customer experiences with zeal, your superfans will be zooming back to spend more — and bringing their friends! — in no time.
And there you have it! That’s how to create superfans, from A to Z.
Deploying your company’s distinct DNA to design memorable, meaningful moments for your customers is a critical competitive advantage you can’t afford to avoid. All alliterations aside, I hope this guide has inspired you to think about (or re-think!) your organization’s customer experience (and employee experience) strategy.
Thanks again. I’ll A-B-C-ya soon!