Scrambling on all fours, I climbed the final pitch to the summit. I twisted my body to reach the next handhold, causing my elbow to bump the new (and expensive) Sony camera out of my backpack’s side pocket. I watched as the camera fell down the steep cliff, bouncing and spinning off rocks until disappearing out of sight.
I finished the pitch, dropped my pack, sat down, and used some rather colorful language to express my sentiment before deciding to limb all the way back down. I figured that if I could find the camera, I might be able to retrieve the memory card from it. To my surprise, I found it. The camera was definitely broken, but not destroyed. After the trip and upon returning home, I sent the camera to Sony. I was open and honest, and acknowledged it was my fault. Sony was great – they paid for the shipping, fixed the camera, and shipped it back to me. Good as new. I couldn’t believe it was the same camera! Had it not been for a scratch on the display screen, I would’ve guessed they had sent me a different one. There was no repair charge, either. Not only did they now have a loyal customer for life, they gained an evangelist.
On a similar note, I bought a Patagonia down vest late last winter. I only wore it a couple times and because I lost weight over the summer, it doesn’t fit very well now. As an outdoor lover and gearhead, I’m aware of Patagonia’s lifetime warranty. On a whim, while sitting down one evening watching TV, I wrote to Patagonia to see what they’d do. I told them I knew it sounded silly, but I had lost weight and was curious if they’d let me return the vest. They responded with, “Congratulations! And yes, we can do that.” Again, Patagonia scored a devoted fan, as well as an evangelist, for their company.
This approach is how I’d like to interact with my clients. If I’m able to first do what’s right for them and give all I can in the process, I believe it’s not only the right thing to do, but that it can create long-term relationships and (ideally) steadfast, passionate, and dedicated evangelists for the work we do together. This doesn’t mean this method is always the easiest or most financially prudent path; however, I believe that you can never go wrong by doing the right thing.
Many of us know what the long-term value of a quality client is worth to our organization. We also know the cost of acquiring a quality client. I’d push one step further by challenging you to identify the value of a loyal customer/evangelist/raving fan. When you consider the referral impact of these relationships, my guess is that if you focused on building these types of connections, you’ll attain your highest value return.
Are you looking to create a base of evangelist customers? Is your company in need of expanding its fan base? Please contact us today for a no-obligation consultation. We look forward to working with you!