The Blue Collar Success Group
One of the greatest business management gurus of our time, Ken Blanchard, wrote a book in the ‘90s with Sheldon Bowles entitled Raving Fans. It was written in the same style as many of Blanchard’s books over the years: almost painfully simple, but yet so applicable.
In our businesses, building a following of raving fans is something we all strive for, but it can be easier said than done when it comes to delivering the highest value possible for our customers. However, these raving fans are huge assets to our companies because they will be our best repeat customers and will recommend us to their family and friends.
I want to pose the question to you as a leader of your business: “How do you create Raving Fans when it comes to your products, services, and overall delivery process?” We all hear the same things repeatedly regarding good customer service. There aren’t many fresh, innovative concepts, and it can begin to sound like a broken record: provide great customer service, take good care of the customer, give them what they want, etc. These are all true and necessary, but how are you standing out and creating Raving Fans instead of drowning in the sea of sameness? Here are a few principles that can help you:
#1 – Decide what you want.
This might sound too simple, and it is incredibly simple, but you need to be perfectly clear when deciding exactly what YOU want. Most business owners don’t have enough clarity about the exact type of company they want to be. I discuss this all the time with my clients. You must know who you are as a business, what specific outcome you want to have, and what types of customers you want to attract and maintain for the long term.
#2 – Discover what your customer wants.
I find that many times we’re a little too scared to ask a customer what they really want because they might actually tell us the truth. Are we ready to hear what they sincerely want? What if we can’t provide it? What if they want quality, warranty, great service, and a very low price? That would mean you’d have to communicate your value proposition to them better than you are now, but at least you would know where you stand with them. It’s important to ask customers about their service experience and be open to suggestions for improvement. This step is not easy for a lot of businesses, but it’s critical to the creation of Raving Fans.
#3 – Deliver the Vision plus one percent.
Once you become clear about your company’s identity and what your customers view as a tipping point on the value scale, then you must deliver what you promised. Sure, delivering what’s promised might be enough to say you provide good customer service. In fact, it is probably even enough to get a lot of repeat customers. However, if you can consistently deliver one percent more than what they’re asking for or expecting, a raving fan is created.
How can you create more raving fans of your company? Develop a strategic plan based on these three principles, and you’re on your way to building a loyal customer base. You’ll also attract better team members, and you will end up with more money in the bank. That’s the value of raving fans.