Turning customers into devotees

Why would a business want to create devotees? Devotion is an interesting phenomenon. Devotion creates a strong bond between a company and its clients. There is a difference between happy, enthusiastic customers and devoted customers. One single lapse is often enough to turn a happy customer into a dissatisfied one. For devoted customers time and adversity work only to strengthen their bond with the company. Devotion results in loyalty.

There is an interesting stat by Gartner Group showing us that a 5% increase in customer retention can increase business profits by 25% to 125%. Imagine if all of your current customers stayed with you forever. How much better you would be doing.

One of the biggest electronic bands in the world, Depeche Mode, who are doing a world tour this year, have sold over $60.8 million in tickets, and that’s after more than 30 years of career. Now that must take a real devotion from their fans around the world. In fact, “devotees” is exactly what their fans are calling themselves. This is an inspiring example of what immense power is held within a true devotion.

What does it take to create devotion?

The key to devotion is creating a customer-oriented company. The reason is only through close engagement with your clients you can know their needs and find out the best ways to cater to those needs. The more you engage, the clearer you see new opportunities for growth.

How do you go about creating a successful customer-centric company?

More than anything else, the success of customer service is due to its people. If you want to provide quality customer service you have to put in all the effort into identifying your future customer service heroes, helping them grow and allowing them to lead the rest of the team. Training and experience are all important. But the most significant thing is you have to make them fall in love with their job.

Customer service is a people oriented job, which requires a lot of patience and sympathy for another person. The only way to nurture these qualities in your service agents is to make them love with their job. When they do, they will radiate joy and happiness and will naturally deliver the best service possible.

There is a brilliant post by Rob Markey and Fred Reichheld on the subject: Your best employees work for love, not money.

To make your people fall in love with their job, you must create an atmosphere of love and joy in your company. As their leader you have to radiate these things yourself. Your employees will pick it up involuntarily.

Jaggi Vasudev, a famous yogi, founder of Project GreenHands and a social entrepreneur has managed to create a following of over 2 million volunteers around the world. How did he do that? He also says that there is something beyond passion, motivation and profit that drives people to give their best. Shall we call it love or devotion? It does not really matter.

The key is to be totally engaged in whatever it is that you are doing. You can’t create a cult of loyal customers if you don’t have any love for your work. You’ve got to start with yourself and become the first devotee of your business. The rest will fall into place automatically.

Do you agree with me?