Are you listening to your superfans?

Are you making it easy for your Superfans to help you?

Are you making it easy for your Superfans to help you?

Are you listening to your superfans?

Jon Thomas at SocialMediaToday tackles a topic that I believe is critically important to associations and organizations: superfansl  (Or supermembers for associations.)

These are your passionate brand advocates, the people who spread the word about you, and who invest their own time (and sometimes money) to help you out. These customers have never gotten enough attention, but with social media, they are more important than ever. A few quick thoughts:

  • Do you know who your superfans are? Not just the top 5, but the top 10%? Are they coded in your database?
  • Do you thank them? Special benefits or a freebie now and then can help you build even tighter bonds with these key supporters.
  • Do you encourage them to share their ideas and suggestions with you? Sometimes your customers will spot problems long before you see them. Let them help you.
  • Do you make it easy for them to spread the word about initiatives you want promoted?

No? Why not? These people WANT to help you. Make it easy for them and you’ll reap the rewards. After almost 25 years of promoting associations and conferences, one of the first things we do when developing marketing plans is to identify these superfans. Instead of wasting time selling them on WHY, we enlist their help to tell other people why it’s time for them to get involved, join, or attend an event. It’s a powerful technique and too few groups are using it.

Do your customer service reps understand your offers?

How often do marketing departments come up with great promotions, only to have them squashed by customer service reps? Here’s an example from the consumer world:

Pharmacies in the D.C. area are having a major coupon battle. They’re offering $25 gift cards to switch from one pharmacy to another, and they all say they’ll match competitors coupons. All good — until you try to actually use the coupon! Then you can watch in amazement as the staff finds ways to make you feel bad about redeeming the very coupon their marketing department produced. From denying that they honor the coupons to claiming that a transferred prescription is not really transferred because they had to make a call, they go to absurd lengths to make it difficult to redeem the coupons. (Or, just as bad, they try to redeem the coupon, but don’t know how to create a gift card.) So marketing spends a pile of money to get you into the store… and in mere minutes, the clerks make sure you’ll never come back.

Are the clerks torturing customers to ensure they never come back? Unlikely. Odds are they think they are protecting the company from scammers, or they simply have not been trained to manage the company’s coupon-matching policy.

How does this apply to your company or association? Are your customer service reps trained on new offers you distribute? Do they understand that the lifetime value of a member or customer far outweighs the cost of whatever discount or premium you’re offering? Maybe… or maybe not. When our team does marketing audits, we often find that customer service and data entry people are in the dark about offers. Worse, they often tell us that forms are not capturing key data.

Whether you’re promoting online, by email, or by mail, make sure that the people who will fulfill the offer know what you’re offering and why. It only takes a few minutes and it can make the difference between a successful campaign and a failed attempt.