Posts tagged ‘customer advocacy’
People choose a new technology when they’re ready to. As Rogers noted, Early Adopters just like playing around with technology. They’re the ones with Apple Newtons and Microsoft Tablet PCs in their attic. Early Adopters don’t need complete solutions – they want to play with the latest toy.
The next wave of adopters, the Early Majority, use technology to solve problems. They like tech, but they have work to do and don’t have time to play around. Fortunately, the early adopters were there first: they helped iron out the kinks and create the solution for the second wave.
The challenge, as Geoffrey A. Moore wrote in Crossing the Chasm, is bridging the gap between the Early Adopters and Early Majority. How do you convince those hesitant people that your gadget is ready for prime time?
One of the things I’ve studied for years is the role of customers in driving long-term revenue growth – how crucial their advocacy and input are to success. This applies to the Chasm as well.
The way to bridge the chasm is through the advocacy of early adopters. If you develop your solution with them, make them your advocates, you’ve got a hit on your hands.
Which raises the big question: how do you make those early adopters passionate about your product? Not by easing their pain, not just by providing a relevant product. You do it by delighting them. That delight ignites the passion.
Example? Check this out.
A very good post today on Customers Rock! about customer loyalty. The nub of it:
You must measure the customer experience continuously.
I couldn’t agree more.
Seth Godin has a good point when he says:
The people who work the hardest to get referrals, it seems to me, are the people who least deserve them.
If you need tips on how to get referrals, there are plenty around. But they’re of no use if people aren’t impressed with what you have to offer, or if they don’t trust you. As Godin states, people give referrals when they like what they’ve experienced.
So why are people buying the books and going to the seminars on referrals? It’s the old mistake of confusing looking good and doing good. Tactics like offering incentives and carefully timing your referral request get adopted so the ones who adopt them can look good – they can report that they’re following the latest techniques for getting referrals. Their arsenal is up to date.
Except people tend to care more about their friends and colleagues than they do about your product or service. If you’re selling a dud, why should they refer you, and ruin their credibility? Because you asked nicely? Because of your timing?
Building a relationship and creating trust is what leads to a referral. Don’t worry about looking good. Do good, and you’ll get plenty of referrals down the road.
Have you gone down that road yet?
Often, in working with companies to promote innovation, we use a combination of our technology and the Jive platform. Recently I saw an exchange between two people conversing via Jive. One of them had prepared some interesting material, and the other was thanking him.
His comment: “This is amazing!!!”
Note the exclamation marks – a sign that the sharing of knowledge added significant value. Someone was energized and jazzed by the simple act of sharing information.
We regularly ask our clients and customers about the experience we offer them. When they write “great!!!” with the exclamation marks, we know we’ve hit our mark. You know you’re doing the right thing when your relationships are being energized.
Innovations are based on ideas that energize us. And brand evangelists, our most valued asset, are just the result of relationships that have been energized.
So a “yes, we’re satisfied” isn’t enough. Go for the exclamation mark!!!
Our clients often expect us to include a recommendation question in a survey, to get an NPS score. However, Valeria Maltoni over at Conversation Agent says that the NPS (Net Promoter Score) doesn’t tell you enough. She’s right.
Some history: looking for a tool that would best predict corporate success, Fred Reichheld examined an assortment of survey questions, and found that a positive answer to the question “Would you recommend our company to a friend or colleague?” had the highest correlation with long term revenue growth.
To help improve corporate performance, Reichheld recommended that the question be asked soon after a transaction, to quickly assess the experience, and keep employees aware of their crucial role as the company’s public face.
It was also a good way to tell which agents or group of agents were leaving the best impression.
That was it. End of story.
Except that companies immediately started misusing it, asking it annually (or more often) of all customers regardless of whether or not they’d done a transaction. At i-OP one of our own vendors sent us a survey with the NPS question twice a year, like clockwork. No reasons why, nothing qualitative.
Problem is, B2B relationships are complex – a lot of factors affect our experience, and you need to understand which of those have the highest correlation with the customer’s overall assessment. To do this analysis you need to use some form of regression-like analysis (we actually use something called Bayesian Inference) to find the drivers behind the experience.
If you just ask the question, and don’t delve into the reasons, you’re diminishing the relationship, not building it. And if you don’t understand what the drivers are behind that experience, you don’t know how to focus your efforts to improve it.
We dropped that vendor. It’s not enough to ask how you’re doing – you need to ask why, and listen deeply to the answers.
A very worthwhile post at Conversation Agent about Kevin Kelly’s concept of 1,000 true fans (the number needed for an artist to make a living):
… you need to connect with your true fans. Why? Because they are the ones who:
* Love your stuff and share it
* Buy your product and services
* Help you build community around them
* Evangelize both the community experience and your products and services
Another way to put it: your customers are the source of your success. A true fan (or evangelist) is one who is committed to your success.
Too many businesses think of customers as a source of money, and they view the relationship as transitory. But we know that the greatest predictor of long-term revenue growth is Net Promoter score (a promoter is another word for true fan).
The core is to find, develop a relationship with and nurture those who are committed to your success, for they can reach where standard marketing messages cannot.
Seth Godin proposed an interesting idea in his blog yesterday. Marketing, he says, takes place like the “between the frames” action in a comic – between the marketing activities. It’s the impressions we get of your product when we’re using it, or the service we get when things go wrong.
Absolutely. Here’s another way of looking at it: marketing is not about generating leads or sales, but about driving customer advocacy. If you focus on making customers into brand evangelists, then your marketing is working full-time between marketing events. Your customers are your marketing agents. Between the frames is your intention: are you just trying to generate money from your activity, or create an experience that builds advocacy?