Customer Evangelism in Reverse

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I’m a fan of Jackie Huba and her writings on customer evangelism – here’s an example of power of the non-evangelist.

After the medical assistant at my eye doctor’s office got me settled she turned around with a very serious look, leaned in and said “don’t buy appliances from Sears.” She then explained in detail all the problems she’s been having with Sears since she purchased a washer 3 weeks ago. She also told me that everyone she’s spoken with about this has agreed that Sears has horrible customer service. She doesn’t want to see anyone go through what she’s been through.

The conversation didn’t stop there (she actually told me more as I was preparing to leave) but what was remarkable was her passion in her evangelism against Sears. Not only did share her own testimonial, but she encouraged us to relate – and relive – the problems we had with Sears … guaranteeing that we would avoid the retailer.

Just as interesting to me is that even though I had an okay experience last year buying an oven, I did nothing to dissuade her. I didn’t step up to defend the retailer or question her to determine if there was any shared fault or mismatched expectations behind the problem. I did keep thinking though if she was raving about the retailer, would it have the same impact?

And, how if I could get my members to follow the same formula in reverse (share a testimonials, encourage the listener to relate their own experience) would it help me get more volunteers, more members?

Mariner Management & Marketing provides association management, volunteer coordinator and leadership development information for associations and non-profit organizations.