Saturday, November 8, 2008

Even Raving Fans Ask: "What Have You Done for Me Lately?"

I had another "What have you done for me lately?" experience this week.

Interestingly, it came from a company of which I'm already a "Raving Fan". In his book Raving Fans, author Ken Blanchard (The One Minute Manager) coined the term Raving Fans -- customers who promote and advocate for your company, beyond just continuing to do business with you.

In this case, a company of whom I've long been a Raving Fan, American Express, came through for me again. Now, your mileage may vary with American Express, but I continue to pay them for the privilege of carrying their credit cards. Why is that? Simply because every time I've needed anything from American Express, or there's been a problem with a product, a merchant or a questionable charge, they've handled it -- quickly, conveniently and in my favor. They've made good on low price guarantees, they've replaced products lost or damaged after purchase, and they've paid deductibles on rental car accidents with no hassles whatsoever.

What happened in this case was that their fraud unit called me on a Friday, saying a suspicious $1.00 charge had been attempted on my card, followed by three more for $20.00 each. They had denied the charges and wanted to know if perhaps they were legitimate.

After some time on the phone, we determined that, indeed, someone must have picked up my card number, was using it fraudulently, and that the best thing to do would be to reissue the card with a different number. I had several concerns about that, the first of which was that this card had some auto-billing accounts for internet services, etc. The representative told me that they would continue to honor the old card number for 90 days on merchants with whom I had a charge history. One concern checked off.

He offered to have the replacement card here by Monday. Reasonable in most cases, except we didn't expect anyone to be home Monday, and we're leaving for a Chief Executive Boards International Summit on Tuesday. He overheard that conversation with my wife in the background, and said "Would it be helpful to have it delivered tomorrow (Saturday)?" Whereupon I said "Wow, that would be just great."

The completion of this Raving Fan story was when the card arrived by Noon on Saturday, as promised.

Well, that's almost the end. Imagine my surprise when I opened up the UPS Express envelope and saw not the ordinary "Here's your replacement card" enclosure, but one I'd never seen before. Alongside the American Express logo at the top were two lines of text in a 28-point bold italic font:
And then, the body of the message began with "It was our pleasure to get you your new American Express Card as quickly as you needed it."

That's the "What Have You Done for Me Lately?" part -- reminding the customer when you do earn a life-saving merit badge that it was indeed a "wow" event. This is important. It's one thing to exceed a customer's expectations. It's quite another to get the full benefit of that by reminding the customer that you did so. Watch for opportunities to answer your customer's ever-present question of: "What Have You Done for Me Lately?"
Here's another article with more ideas on how to do that:

If you have ways you remind customers of your outstanding performance, please click "Comments" below and share them with others.

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Terry Weaver

Chief Executive Boards International

Chief Executive Boards International: Freedom for business owners & CEOs -- Less Work, More Money, More Freedom to enjoy it

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