By Dick Wooden on January 26, 2011 at 12:30 PM
Creating a Culture of Buzz by expanding from How to WOW:
Maybe you’ve heard the FreshBooks customer service story. It involves Triscuits and demonstrates how the culture of a billing-software service created the kind of buzz that is priceless to business success.
Here’s the story, as related by John Jantsch in The Referral Engine:
When Mike McDerment, founder of FreshBooks, blogs, he tends to mix personal comments in with business-related content. In one post he mentioned how much he loved Triscuit crackers, especially some of their newly introduced flavors. One customer who read the blog asked good-naturedly that since he was in Fiji and could not get Triscuits, could McDerment kindly refrain from talking about Triscuits: “I am right now dying to try cracked pepper and olive Triscuits. I am seriously considering cancelling my FreshBooks account because of this irresponsible posting. Have a heart—Jonathan.”
Mike’s next move was to buy some Triscuits and have them sent to Jonathan in Fiji. Sort of a whim, and end of story, he thought. But no. Across the Pacific, Jonathan was so thrilled that he talked about FreshBooks on his own blog. The result was, according to Jantsch, a “firestorm of positive buzz” that lit up the FreshBooks name all over the Internet.
What creates a culture of buzz where things like this happen naturally?
- Beneath, and over, all, you must be the one they trust most.
Say what you can do, do what you say, but also say what you can’t do, admit mistakes, and make it right. Steven Covey calls trust a “hard-edged business asset.”
- Remember that people are most likely to do business with people they know.
Notice I didn’t say “people who know them,” although that’s true too. But they need to see a bit of the personal side of you. McDerment revealed his love for Triscuits, and people could relate to that. A fantabulous relationship was born.
- Focus on the customer.
Listen to the customer. Act on what you hear. Know your customer's interests and concerns. Make it your mission in life to wow the customer. Do this habitually.
- Record what you hear and what you do in your CRM system.
Most referral-driven businesses use systems to support their “wowness.” As Jantsch says, “It’s pretty simple to manage the customer experience when it’s you and Louis taking the calls. When your business grows, you must replace your successful habits with successful systems in order to continue to deliver the highest level of service.”
Systems provide a better experience for your staff, too, which is important when you realize that they will treat your customers just about as well as you treat them.
What can you do to expand from How to WOW?