Want to make customers and employees so happy that they make telling others about the company their mission in life? Spreading the word—that’s evangelism. Spreading the word about a brand—that’s brand evangelism. Most companies would probably sell their collective souls for it.
The good news? A company doesn’t have to deal with the denizens of the nether regions to create brand evangelists. All it has to do is to tweak the way it does business—just a little—and customers will sing its praises. Here’s how.
Provide Good Service, Encourage Positive Feedback
It does no good to ignore what customers say—whether good or bad. Even negative feedback has two positive benefits. Providing the customer isn’t just someone with an irrational ax to grind, any company can discover areas in which it can improve.
- Learn what can make the company’s product better: Ask questions when someone isn’t satisfied. Dig deep into the details of problems to make the service or product even better.
- Some people just need someone to listen: Many customers who complain just have had a bad day or a bad week. When a company listens to them—really listens—and offer to make things right, chances are they’ll become some of the brand’s biggest fans. Just because someone listened.
As for positive feedback, try to turn that into marketing gold. Encourage employees to make their customers happy. According to marketing writer Emmie Cohen, more than 70 percent of customer satisfaction is customer experience—not just the product itself.
Once the customers are happy, encourage those happy customers to spread the word. Provide easy ways for them to do that, such as:
- Ask them to “like” or “share” their experience on social media
- Give them promotional apparel or other merchandise that showcases the brand
- Refer the company to their friends and colleagues
- Write a review on Yelp or another customer-focused review platform
Create a Brand War
Nothing boosts both brands like a brand war. Think Coke vs. Pepsi; Pepsodent vs. Crest. People want only the best—so make sure they see this brand come out on top.
Do plenty of research on the competition’s customers. Ask questions. Discover what makes them buy their product. Next, adjust the product to overcome their objections—and then publicize the changes.
One caveat here: don’t make changes based on only personal preferences. Coke tried that once—and fell flat on their face. In an effort to please Pepsi customers back in the day, they changed the flavor of their beverage, alienating their own customers. As long as the product has plenty of its own fans, don’t alienate them in the process.
Once the quality of the product is improved, then promote, promote, promote the brand war. Signs, contests, t-shirts—whatever it takes to get some buzz going about the brand’s superiority over the competition. The company’s fans will become even more loyal when they feel like they’re in a competition against the brand they don’t buy.
Make It a Joy to Come to Work
When employees look forward to coming into work, it shows on their faces, their productivity–and their enthusiasm. They’ll be willing to go the extra mile to please customers, and they’ll tell all their friends how great it is to work there. Friends tell friends—and before long, customers will pour in.
Employees can often make the best brand evangelists—if they’re happy. Dissatisfied employees, though, can create such bad vibes that word will soon spread throughout the neighborhood. Keep employees happy—and they’ll spread the word.
When a company has brand evangelists working for it, it may just find itself spending fewer dollars on advertising–and spending more time counting all the extra cash it’s raking in.