By Louise Findlay-Wilson, Creator of PrPro and Owner of Energy PR
If you’re in any doubt that PR (public relations) is commercially important — take a look at Lady Gaga. This month she was pronounced the highest paid celebrity under 30 by Forbes magazine. Her ‘business’ involves creating and performing music. She is a performance artist rather than just a pop star. However, without her utter commitment to what she is about, plus her incredible PR skills, which mobilise her fans, she would be nowhere near so successful.
While your business is no doubt very different from Lady Gaga, and you are not going to have (or need) fans on her epic scale, there’s no denying that people who rave about your business are PR gold and will accelerate your success.
How To Get Fans Talking
Interestingly it doesn't take an awful lot to mobilise people to rave about your business. You simply need to be liked already, and then do something good, that's beyond a customer's expectations.
Now, unless you're in a monopoly situation (and few of us are) your customers probably already like you, after all they have a choice about who to buy from and choose you - so stage 1 is completed! You just need to complete the second bit...do something that's beyond what's expected.
One brand did this brilliant recently and got me raving as a result. This was all due to one of its staff - a lady called Anne. Anne works for The Fabulous Bakin Boys a fun muffin and cake company. I found Anne when I attempted to send a box of muffins as a 'thank you' gift to someone. I went online to Bakin Boys website and made my selection, but when it came to completing the order the site just didn't work! I decided to complain, only to find that the 'contact us' page of the site only offered me an email address. ‘Hopeless’ I thought as I bashed out my email of complaint.
However, within minutes Anne was on the phone to me and riding to my rescue.
During the course of the call she charmingly took my order, chatted about the company, told me she'd been with the business from day 1 and loved it, called me back a couple of times because she needed to double check things... apologising profusely each time.
She quite clearly loved The Fabulous Bakin Boys and believed the company would do anything to get my order delivered. There's no way those muffins weren't going to happen!
What she did wasn't rocket science. Indeed the whole thing was spawned from a failure of the company's site to begin with. But that didn't matter because all that subsequently happened was beyond my expectations...
- I was ordering online - but when things went wrong I quickly got a call
- I sent an email for help to a generic info@ but quickly got a far from generic person
- I was complaining about the company's failing website but didn't meet with any defensiveness or excuses just a solution
- I was adding a complication to a busy day but was made to feel I'd be given as much time as I needed
- I expected the fast growing Baker Boys outfit to have got a bit too big to still have personality - but I got bags of personality in the shape of Anne
It was little stuff ...but it got me raving
So what does all this mean for your and your PR?
Well there are two things to consider. Firstly this scenario was spawned by a customer care situation — and that is often where these things start. So, take a good look at how your customer care is set up. How responsive is it, what is the mindset of your team, are they the right people, how do they deal with customers, what is the tone that is used? These people may be more of a public face for your brand than your Chief Exec!
Secondly, assess the opportunities you have to shine and excite people. Ask yourself what is the basic stuff people expect from you - and then, what's that little bit extra (beyond the basics) that you could do? Nothing complicated, just in the literal sense of the phrase, something that means you will 'exceed expectations.'
Spend some time thinking about these two things and your customers will quickly become raving fans and your greatest PR tool!
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