With UEFA Euro 2016 coming up, it’s a good time as any to compare sports fans with customers. Okay sure, sports fans are technically customers to a sports team, but their fandom reaches far beyond that of a typical customer.
The term “fans” come from a shortened version of the word fanatic and some days they can live up to the name. In the UK especially, a sports fan is very similar to someone extremely fanatical in their religion. Dogmatic, passionate, loyal to the core, will fight (usually verbally), hang out with those of same religion or similar, and nothing will stop them going to a service.
So maybe you won’t have customers loyal to the point of religion, but a successful business makes the customer feel like they’re a part of something special. A community if you will.
Sports fans unite together under a team they feel represents them. It could be because of where they grew up or it could be because their family has cheered this team on for generations.
This can also be translated to business.
Example, Apple’s “Think Different” advertising campaign. Customers are drawn to Apple’s products because when they buy from Apple it makes the customer feel smart and part of a tribe.
Sports teams convey a sense of tribalism in their fans. They’re loyal to a point where they may even break out and fight rival fans. Whipping up customer loyalty to the point of fighting isn’t recommended of course, but it can also unfortunately happen with fans of businesses as well.
You should make your customers feel special. Special enough that they will promote your company whenever asked.
Sports fans will get very upset when the team hasn’t won recently or done anything for them. Sometimes they’ll even go to extreme lengths, like building a brick wall in front of a manager’s office, to show how disgruntled they are.
This can happen to businesses as well. If your service becomes less valuable to customers they will respond with public ranting on facebook or twitter, or privately by simply taking their business somewhere else!
A sense of pride is hard to cultivate in customers about a business, but it is possible. For starters, you have to start with yourself. You must have pride about their own business.
Do you think a football manager is proud of the team he or she has cultivated? Of course they are! You can tell through television interviews and training footage, everyone is behind the team and fans know this and they’ll find out real quick if this isn’t the case.
Customer loyalty is important because loyal customers spend 60% more and buy 90% more. To create customer loyalty you must openly communicate with customers, provide excellent customer service, give incentives for loyal customers and make sure to be reliable and consistent with your product or service. Also be sure to reward your customers as well!
Ever run into a family who exclusively uses Apple? That’s because Apple respects their loyal customers with excellent customer service and quality products, which cultivates a tribal mentality where customers do not even think about using any other brand.
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