3 Reasons You Need Customer Evangelists
The ideas below can change the way you think about your business, products and services. I believe if you have customer evangelists, you ‘d be far more resilient than most businesses in this economy. Thus, this is my resiliency spin on this subject.
This blog post on customer evangelism could not be more timely. I have enjoyed reading Creating Customer Evangelists: How Loyal Customers Become a Volunteer Sales Force, by Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba.
Would you like to have an extended sales force that works for free and does not need recognition or remuneration? I know you may be thinking I am out of my mind. Or you are perhaps thinking customer evangelism is some kind of B.S. Well, think again. Think about companies like Apple, Dallas Mavericks, Virgin Group, Starbucks and your favorite mom and pop shop. I bet you ‘ve evangelized for one of them at some point.
Evangelists facilitate transactions that are worth millions of dollars for companies everyday. So who is a customer evangelist? A customer evangelist is someone who assuredly recommends a service or a product to to friends, family and fans. Evangelists use the power of word of mouth to convince and persuade their friends, family and fans to buy services of products that they have enjoyed.
This is why you need customer evangelists for your products or services in this tough economy. Evangelist evangelize in both good and bad times. Sometimes, they work even harder when they see that you need help. Southwest Airlines benefited from many evangelists in the aftermath of 911. Some returned rebates while others mailed checks.
1 Customer Evangelists are 24/7 Promoters
While you are sleeping, customer evangelists are promoting your products and services wherever the right opportunity comes up. As they brag and rave about your service, they can afford to go further than your sales reps because they have a relationship with the prospects. Because of their relationship with the prospect, they present the benefits of your product from the prospect’s view point. Thus, they are effectively in the best position to influence or move the potential buyer.
During my college days, I once bought a set of lottery tickets, thanks to a cousin who was a fervent believer in horse racing. Needless to say, I did not win anything. From the start, I was very skeptical about the idea, but thanks to our relationship, he talked me into buying the tickets. As you can tell, my cousin was a great influencer and evangelist and he used his influence on me, to make the purchase.
2 Customer Evangelists are Full Time Defenders
Customer evangelists are like invisible fighters who fight and defend your products, services and reputation in places you do even know. True evangelists would seldom sit by and watch the reputation of a company they care or admire, dragged down into the mud.
Evangelists often make it their job to defend by showing the good side of your service or product to anyone who has had a bad experience. Given that they are not paid, they are seen to be more credible and thus their defense of your reputation is taken more seriously, because it is not an informercial.
After a nasty experience I had in synching my blackberry with computer, I became a huge defender of the iphone and macintosh products after I experienced the ease of synching my calendar and notes. Each time someone complains about any Apple product, I have gone out of my way to share the blackberry experience and to defend Apple as far as possible. Do I get paid? Haha. I wish.
3 Customer Evangelists are Unpaid Staff
The best part is that for all what evangelists do, they work for free. Here is the catch, you have to earn their respect. Customer evangelists evangelize because they have connected emotionally with a product or service in a special way and they see themselves as bearers of the good news. They do not expect to be paid because that is not their purpose.
Darren LaCroix, World Champion of Public Speaking 2001, has contributed arguably to selling hundreds of copies of the book, Stand Up Comedy, The Book by Judy Carter through the power of evangelism. Through his recommendation, I bought a copy of that book and subsequently several other products published by Judy. Like millions of other evangelists, I believe that Darren does not get paid, but they never fail to evangelize.
What are your views about the power of customer evangelism? If you want to implement this in your business, look out for my next post on what it takes to implement evangelism.