Church of the Customer: 10 resolutions for 2005

All great advice. I like #9 the most. A good example of staying in touch and creating an emotional and memorable bond with your customer.

Link: Church of the Customer: 10 resolutions for 2005.

10 resolutions for 2005

2004 was a busy year for word of mouth. From BzzAgents to blogs to podcasting, marketers have more tools than ever to facilitate buzz.

That's word of mouth. Customer evangelism focuses on building relationships with existing customers who spread the word and believe in your company, its people or its values. Customer evangelists volunteer to help you find other customers just like themselves to help grow and strengthen your community. They do this voluntarily because you have bonded with them emotionally.

2005 may be the year that word of mouth and customer evangelism come into their highest prominence yet; to help out, we have assembled a list of ten resolutions to consider for the new year. After all, year-long resolutions about customers seem a lot easier than staying with a new diet.

Say it with me... In 2005, resolve to:

1. Gather more customer feedback. Call at least one long-term or loyal customer every week.

2. Be more transparent. Napsterize more of your systems, processes and decision-making to customers and watch how they naturally take ownership of the concept and the company.

3. Be more authentic and personal. Focus email newsletters and website content on stories about
customers, and less on branding your company as the savior of everything.

4. Napsterize your knowledge. Offer at least one how-to case study to an industry trade magazine about a successful marketing effort you created. Ideally, it will demonstrate how the program created word of mouth and inspired customer evangelism.

5. Give up rewards programs. Let your competitors create expensive and headache-filled programs that reward customers with cash, rebates or points and let them attract the unprofitable customers.

6. Communicate with customers more often. Start off by simply asking what you can do to improve the relationship.

7. Be more visible. Speak to at least three trade associations about issues and solutions affecting your industry and customers. Resolve that your presentations will not focus on your products or company.

8. Divide at least one product or service into a bite-size chunk. Make it inexpensive, easy or fun.
Stand firm when the engineering group says this cannot be done.

9. Get customers involved. Offer your most passionate customers a special-access or backstage program, such as a customer advisory board, a VIP tour of company operations, lunch with the CEO, or an invitation to beta-test new products or services.

10. Somehow, change the world. Create at least one new product or service that will change the lives of your customers.