Our loyal customers – they are why we are still in business. As the human capital marketplace continues to awaken from its slumber, our customers will (and should) remain just as important to our livelihood as they did while some of us struggled to acquire new ones during the past few years. As marketers in any industry, we couldn’t ask for anything better than our own customers singing the praises of our products or services in both boom times and in bust. They are an extension of our sales force – but a powerful force to be reckoned with and not to be neglected.
We all know how important customer testimonials are and that they should always be included in our print and online collateral. Detailed case studies and success stories are even better, highlighting the “problem-solution-results” scenarios of your most loyal (and successful) customers.
But there is much more we can (and should) do to develop and retain what some call “customer evangelists” – those who continue to support our companies by purchasing our products and services regardless of economic times, and in turn telling everyone else who isn’t why they should.
There are many books you can buy about deepening customer relationships, but one we recommend is entitled Creating Customer Evangelists: How Loyal Customers Become a Volunteer Sales Force. The authors studied seven companies that “rode out the recession without layoffs (or with only minimal furloughs), steady profitability, and minimal budget cuts.” In the book they describe the “six tenets of customer evangelism” as the following:
And out of all the industries out there, isn’t that what “Human Resources Service Providers” are all about, making our world and businesses better? And who better to spread that message than our very own customers.
- Customer Plus-Delta: Continuously gather customer feedback.
- Napsterized knowledge: Make it a point to share knowledge freely.
- Build the buzz: Expertly build word-of-mouth networks.
- Create community: Encourage communities of customers to meet and share.
- Make bite-size chunks: Devise specialized, smaller offerings to get customers to bite.
- Create a cause: Focus on making the world, or an industry, better.