Creating Customer Evangelists | Jackie Huba

Summary of: Creating Customer Evangelists: How Loyal Customers Become a Volunteer Salesforce
By: Jackie Huba


In today’s marketing world, referrals from trusted individuals remain one of the most powerful forms of promotion. The book ‘Creating Customer Evangelists: How Loyal Customers Become a Volunteer Salesforce’ by Jackie Huba delves into the concept of customer evangelists – loyal customers who express their devotion through enthusiastic referrals, turning their favorite products or services into superstars. The book explores the six basic principles companies use to build loyal followings among their customers, including seeking customer input, sharing knowledge, creating buzz, generating a community, offering samples and supporting worthy causes. With well-known examples like Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and Southwest Airlines, readers will understand how these companies tapped into the power of customer evangelism for success.

Harnessing the Power of Customer Evangelists

In a world where consumers are bombarded by countless marketing messages, the most effective form of promotion remains referrals from people they trust. Companies today seek to leverage this power by creating customer evangelists, who are loyal customers that feel an intrinsic attachment to a product or service. Unlike traditional loyalty programs that rely on rewards, customer evangelists express their devotion through enthusiastic referrals and forgive occasional service mishaps. Their loyalty is based on a shared set of values or worldview, which makes them feel close to the brand and compels them to share their feelings and experiences for free. Companies that create customer evangelists often also create customer communities. By nurturing these communities and rewarding evangelists with recognition and opportunities to contribute, businesses can turn their products or services into superstars.

Building Customer Devotion

Companies can foster customer devotion by implementing six fundamental principles that focus on building strong relationships with customers. By putting the customer first company-wide and not just in the marketing department, companies can create customer evangelists that actively seek to promote the company’s values and products. These principles include gathering customer feedback using the “Customer Plus-Delta” model, “Napsterizing” what the company knows and making it accessible to customers, generating buzz through a community of people that share a common trait or experience, creating “bite-size” samples for easy customer trials, linking products to visionary or aspirational causes, and supporting worthy charities. Companies like Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and Southwest Airlines have successfully built customer loyalty using these principles.

Creating Customer Fervor

Krispy Kreme, the doughnut giant, has set an example of creating customer evangelism for firms worldwide. The book describes how Krispy Kreme’s commitment to high-quality products, customer feedback, corporate social responsibility, and visible doughnut-making operations created a near-religious fervor among its customers. The company’s unique practices, such as selling doughnuts at a 50% discount for charity events, offering free samples, and occasional free doughnuts to loyal customers, created memorable customer experiences. Krispy Kreme also successfully leveraged customer feedback to implement in-store improvements, drive-through facilities and its famous “Hot Doughnuts Now” sign. The book explains how common practices such as corporate greed and financial gain, prevalent on Wall Street, can lead to ignored customers and product commoditization. Krispy Kreme’s ability to avoid such pitfalls and prioritize customer satisfaction led to a rise in revenues and individual store sales. The book inspires firms to aim for customer fervor, highlighting the importance of customer experience, corporate social responsibility, and customer feedback to attain sustainable success.

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