ORLANDO, Fla. — Consumers don’t care how much you know until they know how much brands care, and if your brand doesn’t care about the same things your customers do, they will never care about you.
That was the message delivered to attendees at this year’s Bedding Conference by Brittany Hodak, an international speaker, business leader and expert at turning consumers into “superfans.” Those superfans are customers that keep returning for more interaction, more products and bigger tickets.
“Your brand is not what you say it is. It is not your website; it’s not your packaging,” Hodak said. “It’s every single interaction that your employees or partners have with your customers. Brands are living, breathing entities that are being created over time.”
Hodak encouraged brands to build superfans by becoming exceptional at a few core things. She referenced Chewy, the online pet superstore and its incredible customer interactions with every transaction from prescription refill to canceled order.
“When you hear superfans, that is a customer or stakeholder who is so delighted by their experience with a brand, product or service that they become an enthusiastic advocate,” she said. “They never think of going anywhere else. The best customer service experience doesn’t cost anything.”
Superfans, Hodak said, have a couple of distinct characteristics: They are delighted by experiences and they become enthusiastic advocates who create more customers.
“If you want to create superfans, being great is no longer good enough; you have to be super,” she said, adding companies should start with their stories.
Dig deep and determine what it is that your company is the best at, and focus your time and energy into attracting customers that appreciate that, she said.
Once companies determine their stories, it becomes paramount for brands to understand their customers’ stories. Every customer is an influencer through social media, she said, adding that the things that go viral don’t come from content creators but from everyday people whose stories go viral.
“You have to understand … what they struggle with, what their options are, what reservations they have,” Hodak said. “They are always other options. That other option might not be buying from another store. Instead, they may choose to wait on a purchase. There is always another option. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you’re the only option in town. You are not.”
Hodak pointed out that “superfandom” goes deeper than following the Golden Rule to treating others how they want to be treated.
“One approach for everyone doesn’t work,” she said. “Show people that they are more than just another purchase for you.”
And by all means, she said, don’t forget to exceed expectations before, during and after the transaction.
The before and after are just as important and allow companies to set themselves apart from their competition.
“If you distinguish your company from others, you will go from a commodity provider to a category of one,” she said. “Making it easy to do business with you by showing consumers that you care about their needs before they open their wallets to pay you.”