Quick question: Plenty of people talk about customer evangelism from the standpoint of consumers raving about companies, brands and products, but why is it that we rarely hear about customer evangelism from the standpoint of companies raving about their customers?

It's rare to hear about companies that really intimately understand their customers, get to know them personally, and let them and others know how much they're appreciated through both words and actions. Sure you hear the maxim "Our customers are number one", but in the case of the majority of companies we all know that really isn't true. The shareholders are number one, the quarterly report is number one, the CEO and the board are number one ... but not the customer.

How can we expect people to be evangelists for our products when we're not evangelists for them?

(By the way, I'm Katherine, from Decent Marketing. It's nice to meet you. Thanks to Fast Company for letting me hang out with you and all the other blogjammers.)

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  • Douglas E. Welch

    I am a small, independent consultant with a relatively small number of clients, but I always make the point of saying that "I have the best customers in the world." They support me in my endeavors as much as I support them with their computers. They are understanding when my "daddy" responsibilities sometimes limit my availability.

    I think it is very important for customers to hear that they are appreciated and I do just that as often as possible. It is also important to share information about yourself, so that customers come to see you as a full person, not just someone who comes in to fix the computers.

    I recently launched a project to establish a "directory" or my customers so that they can tell other customers what services or products they provide. It is my hope that this will lead to some interesting cross-pollination of customers as they develop their own relationships and remember that I was the person who brought them together.

  • Marc Orchant

    Katherine: it's a great question. One way you can celebrate your customers is to provide them with channels to express themselves. We use discussion forums and customer profiles (highlighted on our home page) to "show off" some of our really cool customers.

    Church of the Customer (linked in the sidebar to the left) is a great resource for ideas of how to excel at customer evangelism. Ben and Jackie really "get" this stuff and offer excellent examples and techniques in their blog and their book "Creating Customer Evangelists".