How to Build a Raving Fan Base: 3 Tips from Amazon You Can Start Doing Right Now

Raving FanKen Blanchard, author of the book Raving Fans, states, “If you really want to ‘own’ a customer, if you want a booming business, you have to go beyond satisfied customers and create Raving Fans.”

Raving Fans essentially become salespeople for you.

Amazon has perfected this idea but your camp or school doesn’t have to be a corporate giant to benefit from this idea. 

In a Business Insider article, writer George Parker tells the story that transformed him into a raving fan of No. 1 online business Amazon:

After purchasing one of the first Kindles a number of years ago, Parker dropped and broke it within the first week. He writes, “I called Amazon and explained what had happened. They said they would ship me a new Kindle that day and I should return the old one in their pre-paid package. I asked how much this would cost. Nothing, they said. Voila, I became a customer for life, not to mention an enthusiastic promoter of all things Amazon.”

How Amazon Delighted Harry Potter Fans

Satisfying customers takes priority at Amazon, and this strategy reframes its obvious goal of increasing profits. For example, Amazon uses the Loss-Leader concept in customer service, willingly losing money to offer something that creates die-hard Amazon fans. In 2005, they delivered the new Harry Potter book to all those who ordered it — on the same day it appeared in bookstores. The resulting customer loyalty has paid for itself many times over.

Parents love online registration. Find out how to get online in as little as 14 days.

So, how do you build a raving fan base for your camp or school? Start with these 3 Amazon practices you can do for FREE:

1. Listen to your customers.

The best way to value customers and offer them what they value is to listen to them. In addition to conventional surveys and focus groups, pay attention to repetitive themes that come up in informal conversations, or create focus groups to crowd-source new ideas. Also, ‘listen’ online by visiting forums and by engaging with others on your own—or other people’s—Facebook pages.

Listen to silence, as well. When individuals leave a business, school, camp, or program, and their absence 
isn’t noticed, it can confirm to them that they weren’t valued customers. Consider sending a “We missed you” email to those who haven’t registered for an upcoming season. Ask if there is a problem or offer an incentive to return. A good camp management software or class management software will allow you to pull up reports and see important information in your data about who’s there and who’s not.

2. Ask the right questions.

Instead of framing your questions solely around your problems (For example, “How can we make the first day of our program less chaotic?”) think in terms of how to delight or surprise students and parents who may be hurried, worried, or tired during that time. Stressors of first-day registration or processing could be relieved by meeting parents or students at the door instead of having them form a line behind a registration desk. (Think about Apple’s approach of reps meeting customers at the front of the store.)

What else can you offer? Maybe it’s a colorful, supervised play area for toddlers within view of the reception area. Maybe it’s as simple as a healthy snack for the road. It’s amazing the big impact little touches can make.

In addition, seek constructive feedback from your employees as well as your customers. New employees sometimes have a unique perspective because of former work environments. Consider giving them a one-time chance to compare your program to a previous experience—you may learn something useful!

 3. Offer the best website user experience.family_computer_with_webpage

User experience is THE reason Amazon’s website and purchase process is the best in class. Superior online interface flows naturally into word-of-mouth advertising, because fans of your business will rave.

The flipside, however, is that unsatisfied customers will rant at an even greater rate. If Pete Blackshaw, author
 of Satisfied Customers Tell Three Friends, Angry Customers Tell 3,000: Running a Business in Today’s Consumer-Driven World is even half right in his math, you want them to rave, not rant.

Amazon Has Raised the Bar for All of Usboy dinosaur chalk board measuring cropped

With a seamless website and registration process being a baseline expectation for today’s consumers, a frustrating website or registration process can be a deal killer. And to take advantage of the word-of-mouth aspect, your technology should also provide the integrated means for customers to share any and every aspect of a positive experience. (ACTIVE’s solutions do both!)

In Amazon case studies, CEO Jeff Bezos says, “If there’s one reason we have done better than most of our peers in the Internet space over the last six years, it is because we have focused like a laser on customer experience, and that really does matter, I think, in any business. It certainly matters online, where word of mouth is so very, very powerful.”