Do You Have Fun With Your Customers?

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There are two ways to engage with your customers – being professional, formal and demonstrating that you are at your best at all times. Or, you could have fun with them, show your human side and be more likeable. Both these strategies work for businesses in building loyalty and a core fan base. But truth be told, it is easier being professional and formal – there is a standard etiquette to follow and a general consensus on what formal organizations are like. As a result, you can copy the exact processes followed by other organizations and still come out equally successful.

But engaging with customers through fun is not an easy strategy to adopt. For one, there is often a very thin line between having fun and being seen as unprofessional. Paying customers do not condone bad customer support or poor product simply because you provide an affable experience – so there is a need to prove that you provide the best support at all times. Also, there is no one template to follow and there is a need to deploy a unique strategy of your own. Unlike a formal setup, there is no business process you could simply copy from other similarly run organizations.

Although this is a much harder way to engage customers, there are obvious benefits to demonstrating yourself as a fun company that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Firstly, customers are more likely to refer your business to other prospective customers. The problem with seriously run businesses is that being formal is the norm. So customers don’t take notice of the experience unless you bungle up. As a result, negative reviews often exceed positive ones. On the other hand, customers tend to express their support for “fun” companies more vocally. As a result, a prospective customer is more likely to hear positive words about your company from others. Secondly, it is easier to establish a connect with the audience when something goes wrong; something that is inevitable for any business. If you are a company with a better connect with your customer base, it is easier to apologize and get going. This is not the case in a formal setup.

So how does a company demonstrate their fun side? Unfortunately, there is no template to follow. Here are however different examples of how you could do that.

Blog & Social Media : This is the first and foremost platform for businesses to connect with their customers. A lot of businesses make the mistake of using these platforms as PR machines to churn out carefully drafted press releases. If you are looking to demonstrate a fun side, here is where you should start. A good example is a recent giveaway organized by a New Zealand based broadband company called BigPipe – they launched a “mystery” Chromecast giveaway, but ended sending Crayfishes to customers because that is what they demanded. The whole social media engagement is fun and makes the company instantly likeable.

Social media engagement
Social media engagement

Customer Support : The support departments of any organization are often among the least paid. However, they are the key to establishing a good rapport with customers and are often the face of the company to your paying customers. One company that recognized this was Zappos which focused on creating a ‘Wow’ experience that enthralls customers. Unlike the blog/social media strategy, this is a lot more replicable. Check out this Zappos case study to see how the company goes to insane lengths to please customers and be likeable.

Projection through Association : Have you observed how alcohol beverage companies often bag sponsorship deals for large parties, get-together events or racing events? The idea is to project an image of the company through association. As a company that wants to project itself as fun and likeable, you may sponsor local events that people associate with fun. For instance, you could associate or sponsor with local Holi celebrations, beer sculling competitions or other obscure races like mustache championships, cow racing and egg rolling that happen in various parts of the world.

The idea is this – projecting yourself as a fun company helps you connect better with people. As studies with Zappos and other affable companies have shown, customers tend to refer others to a company if they are able to establish a personal connect with the business. And this needs to be the sole objective of any business that is here for the long haul. What are your thoughts?

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