Phil doesn't really care about American Express.
Why should he care? I mean it's just a credit card after all. Sure it's got a few benefits and features and stuff that other credit cards don't have, but that's not enough to make Phil yodel about American Express.
Yet recently, Phil's been yodelling
Suddenly, Phil's become what you'd call an accidental evangelist. Suddenly, he talks more about American Express than he'd like to admit.
It all started when Phil moved home
Early in June, Phil moved. And like we all do when we move, Phil informed everyone (including Amex) that they needed to change his home address.
What happened next, surprised the heck out of Phil
In his mailbox sat a voucher for $50. Congratulations on your new home, said the note from Amex. And tell me, wouldn't you be smiling from ear to ear, if you got a housewarming gift, before your boxes were unpacked.
Amex isn't alone
There's a hotel. I forget their name (and shame on me for forgetting!) that engages their customers as they walk through the lobby enroute to their room.
One such customer wasn't exactly cheerful on arrival
She seemed upset. Hassled, even. So the receptionist asked the customer what was wrong. “I've had a hideous day. The flight was delayed. I had to cancel my appointments and it's the end of the day, and nothing's achieved.”
Ten minutes later, this very customer was smiling
Nah, maybe more than a smile, her face bordered on a grin
Because as she checked into her room, sighing, her eyes fell on a box of chocolates and a little note.
Nope, it wasn't a secret admirer
The note said, “We're sorry you had such a rotten day. We hope this box of chocolates will cheer you up. Compliments from ……….(the hotel whose name I forgot!)
Poof! They created the Accidental Evangelist
Yeah, yeah, I know. You don't run a hotel. And you don't own a credit card company. And the options for you to create evangelists, accidental or not, are few and far in between.
Ok, so tell me another one…
Because you've not been listening. As in paying attention to your customers — because customers are sure telling you really important stuff all the time.
“Hi Jody,” they say, “Can we re-schedule our meeting, as I can't make it today. My son is ill and needs to be taken to the doctor.” Or “Hi, Mark,” they say, “It's my birthday next week, and my wife is taking me out to lunch, so….”
Have the lights gone on in your brain yet?
Sure they have, because you're one smart cookie :). And yes, you've had dozens of reasons and seasons, to create the accidental evangelist. And yes, you can play Santa in July, if only you'd listen.
Every darn company out there fails to listen
Because companies don't listen. People do. Companies send silly greeting cards at Christmas time. People listen and act on specific situations. And when they (as in you and me, act) the customer is startled, bemused, surprised, excited and suddenly there's a smile on the customer's face.
It's warm. It's radiant. It's the kind of smile that could un-chill a freezing winter's night.
Stand back and enjoy the glow. You've just created the accidental evangelist.
Lisa Olinda says
I love this. It is true that when a company does something nice unexpectedly it incurs many warm and fuzzy feelings. I believe in some ways we have become used to the bad customer service and when we get exceptional service it is wonderful.
My 17 year old daughter is a waitress and she is learning first hand about customer services and every week she recognizes when she does something special or extra for the customer they really light up.
Thanks for the reminder to provide that kind of customer service and produce many accidental evangelists!
Sean D'Souza says
Yes, and the best thing is it’s so easy to be nice.
Akash Sharma says
Great thoughts again Sean, I heard about creating evangelists with your exceptional customer service but never thought of this term or the idea.
I think accidental evangelists can be created by every brand, the only thing they need to do is to listen and react with the right emotional action.
As you mentioned above sending Christmas greetings does not work anymore because thats too common and doing no good to the customer.
I have one more example for this term, As we read blogs, sometimes take an initiative to comment but not every time we get a reply but there are a few bloggers who reply to almost every message, now how does this works for them- when other people blog about some similar topic we will talk about that particular post, Why because you like the quick follow up from that blogger and the message
spreads on and on.
Like Now if someone talks about evangelism am going to mention this post of yours.