Last week’s post on how brands connect with their fans drew some interesting conversation and a few people that thought that I didn’t ‘get’ that businesses are in business to make money. I totally get that, what I don’t think some brands and marketers get is that there ARE other profitable ways to work with your fans other than simply turning them into ‘walking billboards’.
I just learned about Needle, a startup that works with brands to help them turn their fans into virtual customer service representatives. Needle lets brands find and identify their most passionate and knowledgeable fans, so they can bring them on board as virtual extensions of the brand’s customer service team.
This is EXACTLY what I was talking about when I said that brands and marketers need to look beyond simply utilizing their fans to promote the brand. A model such as this is a win-win-win: The brand wins because it can provide better customer service. The customers win because they now have access to better customer service. The fans win because this lets them connect with other customers and help them make a purchase decision. Which is what the fans wanted to do anyway.
And oh BTW, a byproduct of this model would be increased sales for the brand. See, it all works out in the end? There is huge untapped potential for brands to utilize their fans to provide customer service, one of the companies I profile in Think Like a Rock Star saved over $300,000 in costs from deflected call center calls by simply creating a way for its existing customers to help new and potential customers with their questions.
It’s NOT just about sales when it comes to connecting with your brand’s fans. It’s about connecting with your fans and helping them do what comes naturally to them. If your brand can do that, it will reap the rewards.