When I lead a company called Spearia, my goal was to find a better way to serve our customers. I wanted to create a lasting experience. I can’t say that I ever figured it out because we weren’t always know for our customer service, we were more known for our creative ideas.

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Later in the company I found a book called Raving fans by Ken Blanchard. The book changed the way I looked at customer service and service in general. The book wrecked me. It made me realize all the mistakes I made and how I looked at customer service.If you haven’t read it I would encourage you to pick up a copy and read it.

After I read the book and discussed it with other leaders I started making it mandatory for all Spearia team members. It was probably to late at that point. However, the time that we did have reading and implementing the ideas really made a difference. After several years now working with this process both successfully and unsuccessfully, here is what I’ve learned.

Developing raving fans is a commonsense approach to gaining customer loyalty. The people within your organizations are ultimately responsible for creating good relationships with the customers, so that they keep coming back for more.

Research shows that people or customers who are emotionally attached to organizations or brands are more likely to continue coming back to those organizations. And only leaders and team members who have the understanding, knowledge, and skills-as well as the organizational support-are able to deliver in ways that keep those people coming back.

Do you want to develop raving fans for your organization? If so, you need to develop a loyalty process that responds to various organizational needs. Once these needs are met, the quality of the service determines if your people will choose to do long-term business with your organization.

Implementing the Raving Fans process will help with the following.

  • Retain customers.
  • Develop and retain high performing team members.
  • Enhance accountability for results.
  • Encourage your team to take initiative to prevent and solve problems quickly.
  • Amplify your return on investment for the short and long term.

The three secrets to developing Raving Fans are:

  1. Decide what your organization wants by determining the type of people-focused service your organization will do and will not do. The individuals in your organization will develop their own personal touch that is aligned with what your organization wants.
  2. Discover, on a continuing basis, what your people want and think about, and what and how you provide their solutions. This requires modifying what you do based on what they want.
  3. Implement and improve systems, procedures, and policies in order to deliver a little more, or plus one percent service, than your customers expect.

These three secrets and more can be implemented as a team after establishing a plan, believing in it, committing to it, executing it, measuring it, and continuing to measure it. The review is critical to maintaining the momentum and developing a raving fan philosophy.

If you commit to developing a ravings fans culture within your organization everyone should be able to:

  • Understand the critical strategy of treating customers in ways that ensure they become emotionally attached to the organization.
  • Influence leaders within the organization to provide the supportive environment necessary for gaining customer loyalty.
  • Make clear their personal or organizational images of service.
  • Discover what customers want and think about them and their organization.
  • Listen and communicate more effectively and in a variety of ways.
  • Use recovery as a customer loyalty strategy.
  • Establish and improve the internal systems necessary to reliably and consistently deliver plus one percent service to customers
  • Apply everything learned within the organization to ensure continuous improvement.

If you stick to the process and implement everything outlined you should achieve the following results:

  • Emotionally attached external and internal customers that stay with you for the long term, thus achieving a greater return on investment.
  • Increased team member initiative and sense of responsibility, resulting in fewer headaches and requiring less time to achieve positive results.
  • Greater alignment of individual and organization visions.
  • Establishing the optimal environment for working toward your organizational vision and accomplishing your key business goals.
  • Greater productivity and performance.
  • Enhanced individual and organizational self-esteem.

This is the  best approach for transforming your work environment into a Raving Fans culture. This will allow your team to fully understand and harness the Raving Fans philosophy and begin to change your behavior first. The Raving Fans process focuses on changing your organization’s culture.

Once you implement the process you should setup a review, reinforce, and recommit meeting with your team. This meeting will provide the opportunity to measure successes, share stories of customers becoming emotionally attached to the organization, and identify new potential gaps in the organization. Participants also identify the next steps to take in the customer loyalty process.

I hope this helps as you seek to develop raving fans for your organization.

Discussion Question: How are you developing raving fans for your organization? Please share some tips and tricks that you are using to take a radical approach to customer loyalty.