I recently read the book Raving Fans by Ken Blanchard. Love his books. Quick reads. Great messages. As a business owner I was reminded of the invaluable effect of providing a memorable experience every time your customer walks in the door. A satisfied customer is OK but one that will go out of their way, passing up similar (sometimes better) products and services to do business with you are Raving Fans. Customers who will tell everyone they know and their brother about you are Raving Fans. Employees who love to come to work and will go above and beyond what you ask of them are Raving Fans. Surprising people by giving more than expected, over delivering on your promise, creates Raving Fans.
Picture yourself at a high end restaurant that boasts the very best steak in town. You go there and sure enough it is absolutely, without a doubt, the most delicious piece of meat you’ve ever tasted. Unfortunately everything around it was terrible. The service was slow, the atmosphere was loud and chaotic, and staff inattentive, borderline rude. The entire experience forgettable. But boy was that a great steak.
Now let’s go to Average Joe’s Diner where the food is, well, average; mainly a belly filler. However the second you hit the door you are greeted warmly by name and a friendly conversation. You’re taken to a table where the owner comes over to say hello, thank you for coming and asks about your day. A warm towel is presented for you to freshen up before ordering after which the wait staff tends to your every need before asking. After finishing the chef takes a minute to ask how you enjoyed the meal. The moment you get up a staff member is waiting with your coat to help you with it on. You leave to another friendly conversation with the hostess. As a token of sincere appreciation the owner hands you a boxed piece of fresh made pie, wishes you to enjoy it, and offers a warm goodbye.
Now, which restaurant are you going to go back to? That’s what Raving Fans is all about. Over delivering. Surprising your customers with service so good that can’t help but to talk about it. Creating such an enjoyable work environment that your employees can’t help but to rave about it.
It wasn’t until a couple weeks later when I sat down to begin putting ideas on paper that would continue to cultivate raving fans of my own business that I realized the true value of this book. Raving Fans isn’t only for business. It applies across the board into our everyday life. It’s a premise on how to treat everyone around you. It begs the fundamental question we need to ask ourselves: are the people closest to us Raving Fans?
Our spouses, children, significant others, close friends. Are we over delivering on those relationships or are we taking them for granted. Sure, at first when our personal relationships were shiny and new we went out of our way to do those specials things but somewhere along the way did we stop? Why?! We foolishly assume they will always and unconditionally be there. The result is we no longer put any effort into the relationship. We barely maintain sometimes let alone over deliver on it. We stop courting the relationship. The fatal flaw in business, making a customer feel unappreciated, is the same fatal flaw in our personal relationships. If anyone in our lives deserves the effort worthy of a Raving Fan it is our family. Ask yourself when is the last time you surprised your family? Not just once in a while but on a regular basis. Who are your Raving Fans?