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Create a Customer Board of Directors

One of the seven customer service strategies covered in The Amazement Revolution focuses on creating a community of loyal customers.  This strategy is often viewed as a marketing strategy, but I disagree. It is really a very customer-focused strategy with two approaches. Deliver a great customer service experience that converts a group of satisfied customers into […]

One of the seven customer service strategies covered in The Amazement Revolution focuses on creating a community of loyal customers.  This strategy is often viewed as a marketing strategy, but I disagree.

It is really a very customer-focused strategy with two approaches.

  1. Deliver a great customer service experience that converts a group of satisfied customers into a community of customer evangelists.
  2. Create a community of customers willing to help you provide a better product and customer experience for all of your customers.

One way to build this community is to really listen to your customers.  Maybe enlist some of your best customers into what you might call a “customer board of directors.”  You’re looking for any and every idea to improve, from the product or service that you sell to the way you deliver it (customer service).

Software companies have User Groups that get together to discuss how to use their software best.  Software companies are all about creating a better product, based on the feedback they learn from their customers.  In a sense, that is a customer board of directors.

MegaDo

A recent business article in USA Today (Feb 13, 2012) featured MegaDo, a very cool airline program that gives passengers a unique experience.  This is a great example of bringing together a community of loyal customers and, at the same time, getting feedback that could be valuable to the future of the airline.

Tommy Danielsen founded the idea of MegaDo in 2009.  The concept was that people who were frequent fliers on airlines, either for business or pleasure, could take a trip that let them experience various aspects of air business, from flying on new planes, visiting with airline executives, touring an airplane manufacturing facility, getting a behind-the-scenes look at how an airline operates and more.  The first airlines to participate in MegaDo were United, Lufthansa and other Star Alliance airlines.

This year’s MegaDo featured American Airlines and rather than the passengers going to a meeting room to meet with airline executives, Suzanne Rubin, President of American Airlines AAdvantage frequent-flier program, actually took the trip with the passengers.  She took time to talk to the passengers, answer questions, take notes on suggestions, etc.  What a great way to learn from a captive audience of your most seasoned passengers.  These people became the airline’s “user group” and in a sense the “customer board of directors.”  They were happy to share and give feedback to Ms. Rubin.

If you are not already doing so, what are the ways you can bring your customers together?  You want to find out how you are doing, how they are using your product, and more.  Don’t assume you know, unless you are already reaching out to them.  So, this lesson in building a community is simple, and it is all about customer service: Create a customer board of directors.

Shep Hyken is a customer service/CX expert, award-winning keynote speaker, and New York Times bestselling author. Learn more about Shep’s customer service and customer experience keynote speeches and his customer service training workshops at www.Hyken.com. Connect with Shep on LinkedIn.

(Copyright ©MMXII, Shep Hyken)

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