How To Create The Accidental Evangelist

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.

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