How to make your customers feel like they belong
By Sarah Robinson
Imagine being at your every-Friday-night high school football game, cheering with all the other fans, or your favorite Saturday breakfast place, chatting with the same people you see there every week, or going back to your hometown, falling into an easy rapport with people you haven’t seen in ages but who know you so well. That feeling of connectedness, shared experiences, and understanding—that’s what a Fiercely Loyal community feels like. If you can give that feeling of belonging to your customers, clients, and employees, they will never leave you.
Here’s why this is a critical topic for organizations today: The marketplace is so loud, so crowded, and so competitive, it can be really difficult to stand out—either as a top brand to your customers, clients, and prospects or as a top employer to your current team and prospective team members. To top it off, leading research firms from Forrester to Gallup offer up alarming statistics about the high cost of disconnected consumers and employees.
For example, did you know that consumers who are actively engaged in a brand community spend an average of 19 percent more than those who aren’t? Or lost productivity due to employee disengagement costs more than $450 billion in the U.S. annually? That’s a lot of money at play.
The great news is all of this research also points to a very specific solution. And organizations who understand and implement it are going to be the organizations who win in this volatile economy. The best part is it’s a solution that we Southerners know so well; it’s ingrained in who we are in the world. Ready to hear the magic answer?
Create a culture of connected community that builds unrivaled Fierce Loyalty. Create an environment for your clients or your employees that feels like that Friday night football game, that favorite Saturday breakfast place, or that hometown. In this rapid-fire, disconnected, and impersonal world we all live in, that sense of belonging and being known is something that is vitally important. Creating it as an organization is the key to creating Fierce Loyalty.
At this point, you may be thinking, “Great! Sign me up for that!” I’ve watched many an organization lead with this enthusiasm and overlook the process and structure that building this kind of community requires. When I work with my clients to build this process and structure, I often remind them that we are developing a long game, not a flash in the pan strategy. To get everyone moving in the right direction, we spend our first few meetings answering the question “Why do you want to build this community culture?”
Often, I’m met with responses like “Because we need it to survive.” Or “My boss read about it and thinks it’s a good idea.” Occasionally I get a deer caught in the headlights stare along with an “ummmmmmmm….” While I totally understand these responses, you’ve got to have a solid, compelling answer that is embraced and supported across your entire organization.
Here are some questions to help dig into your answer:
1. What is one specific and tangible positive outcome your organization will gain by having a Fiercely Loyal community (you can have more, but get one down as clearly and specifically as you can)?
2. What is one specific and tangible positive outcome your customers or clients or employees or team members will gain by being a part of a Fiercely Loyal community (you can have more, but get one down as clearly and specifically as you can)?
3. How will you make your case for the money/time/resources this effort will require?