Once you have a customer, your relationship has just begun.
Research shows that existing repeat customers are far more profitable than new customers.
Some businesses have superfans who will spend money to buy products and services from a given company and then brag about it and encourage their friends to do the same!
I haven't used an iPhone in half a decade, so I know who my Apple superfan friends are because I hear from them on a regular basis.
When you give a customer exactly what they expect, you create a neutral experience, but the only way to cultivate superfans is to consistently go above and beyond customer expectations.
When you create your own superfans, you unlock a reverse-marketing expense, where customers pay you for products so they can advertise them for you, free of charge.
So how do you do it? What's the simplest way to create your own grateful, excited customers? By exceeding expectations on a regular basis.
Think of it like a math equation, where a given customer’s satisfaction is determined by this formula: Satisfaction = Experience – Expectation
If a customer walks into your business expecting a level 7 pretty good experience, and you deliver a level 9 excellent experience, you have exceeded expectations with positive score! That means a satisfied customer, potentially even an excited customer (you’ve planted the seed for a superfan).
If the same customer expecting a level 7 pretty good experience gets a level 5 okay experience, you fell short of expectations and you have a negative score. That means a dissatisfied customer, potentially even a disgruntled customer, or maybe you’ve lost the customer completely!
If a customer expects a level 7 pretty good experience, and you deliver a level 7 pretty good experience, your score is 0.
You have a neutral customer because you lived up to their expectations and did your job. You got paid, your customer is satisfied, but you won’t win any awards for meeting expectations.
In other words, if your customer buys a product and you deliver a product that meets their expectations ... you don't lose a superfan, but you don't win one either!
Of course, the score is just a creative way to think about your customer’s experience. There is no reliable way to capture your customer’s expectation with a score-like number or calculate the value of the experience you provide.
Every customer's expectation and experience is going to be a bit different.
Side Note: this is the same reason you should never start a joke by telling someone you are about to share the “funniest joke ever.” At this point, you have set the expectation score so high that your only hope is to live up to the experience and get out neutral, rather than ahead 😉
Create Remarkable Experiences
As an entrepreneur, your job is to solve a problem for a profit.
Once you’re clear on the real people you’re serving, the real problem they’re experiencing, and your real solution, you’re off to the races!
Your first task is to meet customer expectations—but if you want to create lifelong customers and raving superfans, you are going to need to exceed expectations on a regular basis.
What can you do for your customers that is above and beyond what they would ever expect, where you can win their loyalty and support?
The answer’s remarkable.
Merriam-Webster defines remarkable as “worthy of being or likely to be noticed especially as being uncommon or extraordinary” but I learned what remarkable means in the Southern United States, where we like to keep it simple.
As an impressionable teenager working for Chick-fil-A, I remember my manager splitting the word into “remark” and “able” to explain that our goal was to provide such exceptional service that customers would remark on the experience to their friends and family.
How can you wow someone today and win their love and loyalty so they tell their friends and come back to purchase your products, again and again?
What will you do, to go above and beyond?