The difference between a customer and a fan is the difference between a single sale and an extension of your business. Unless you understand the difference, you can’t devise the appropriate initiatives to turn customers into advocates.
When we think of a fan, we think of sports fans or fans of the arts: football fans, Harry Potter fans or fans of Ed Sheeran. Raving fans of a cleaning company don’t immediately spring to mind, if someone is passionate about the abrasiveness of their toilet cleaner then surely that’s their business? Wrong. By definition, if someone is devoted and passionate enough about something then they’re a fan of it. So whether you are a musician, an artist, a bottle of Cillit Bang, a car dealership or a real estate agency, you can have fans too.
The Difference Between a Customer and a Raving Fan
The reason a consumer chooses a particular brand, how loyal they are and how they represent it is the distinction between whether they’re merely a customer or a loyal, devoted fan.
“Loyal customers, they don’t just come back, they don’t simply recommend you, they insist that their friends do business with you.” – Chip Bell (Author, Keynote Speaker and Consultant in Customer Loyalty and Service Innovation)
If we take EE and O2 users for example, the passion in their arguments when debating which is the better service network provider is a prime example of the attitude of a fan or a brand advocate. EE and O2 provide the same mobile units but users will tell you why they prefer one over the other.
The Importance of Turning Customers into Fans
Customers are spoilt for choice in such a competitive market – there are so many options available to them so it’s essential for businesses to prevent their customers from moving on. You only make one sale from a customer but a fan will return again and again. They will follow you on social media, engage in your posts, trust in your services and promote you. In the event of a negative review, fans will step up and defend you with accounts of their positive experiences, persuading the critics to give you another chance.
Customers are the foundation to build the fandom from so obtaining new customers is crucial but so is retaining them.
How a Customer is Converted into Advocates
Continually providing useful and innovative products is a no brainer but what about in between product launches? Customers can easily forget about you and move on once they’ve made an initial purchase so maintaining an online presence is essential for keeping them interested and discovering your existing products. Sharing interesting, relevant and accurate content engages customers, and by sharing reliable information, you give them a basis to trust you on. If they read your online posts, the chances are they will comment on them too and that’s your opportunity to step in and build a rapport and create a fan. A personal response ensures they know you’re listening to them and value them as an individual so they’ll be inclined to engage again in the future.
Loyalty in Exchange for Loyalty
Offering deals to your existing customers is as important as offering them to new customers. This was demonstrated when energy providers were exposed for offering new customers cheaper deals than their existing customers. They prioritised taking on new customers and neglected their existing customers, leaving them paying more and feeling punished for their loyalty. The disloyalty of these companies came at the cost of fostering fans and instead made the news.
Turn Your Customers into Fans
“The first step in exceeding your customer’s expectations is to know those expectations.” – Roy H. Williams (Wizard Academy Founder, Best-Selling Author and Marketing Consultant)
The first step in developing your customers into a fanbase is understanding their expectations. JudgeService surveys acquire the customer service data necessary to identify those expectations at a granular level, enabling you to learn from your mistakes and build on your achievements. As a trusted, unbiased third-party, customers and prospective customers provide us with honest feedback regarding their experience so you can use the information to identify the weaknesses of your business, gain loyal and engaged customers and create fans. In addition, the JudgeService Reputation Management tool gives you the ability to organise and manage the feedback you receive from all the sites that matter to you from one place meaning you will never miss a review. You will have the opportunity to engage with all of your customers as soon as the opportunity arises, converting your unhappy customers with your swift and satisfactory response and turning your happy customers into advocates with your personal approach.
Contact sales-enquiry@judgeservice or call 01423 225166 for further details on the JudgeService tools that give you control of your fanbase.