Zombie Loyalists. What are they? Well, they are your customers that are so overwhelmed with you, your product and the services you provide that they do your marketing for you. In today's world, having customers like that will make or break your business. But, how do you get there? Well, as of today, my good friend Peter Shankman can tell you. Just this morning Peter released his latest book, Zombie Loyalists: Using Great Service to Create Rabid Fans.
This book is a complete eye-opener and MUST-READ for anyone that has a customer...and that covers pretty much all of us.
In anticipation of the book's release, I caught up with Peter to discuss his thinking behind it, as well as some other great insights that the creator of HARO and the author of one of the most famous tweets ever written had to share.
Brandon Steiner: Who is this book for? And, why did you write this book?
Peter Shankman: This book is for anyone who has customers. And everyone has customers. Everyone has clients. Everyone has someone who turns to them when they have a problem, and through this book, you can learn to be the person who fixes the problems, gets the business, and grows your company.
BS: You know of course that my background is in the service industry. Talk about why great service is necessary for success.
PS: Let's face it - In the customer service environment, we expect to be treated like crap on a regular basis, right? We expect to have our seat changed, we expect to not have a smile, we expect companies to screw up our orders. All companies have to do today to win the customer service game is to just be one level above crap. All you have to do is be one level above crap.
BS: Without giving too much of the book away, can you tease some of the key strategies you recommend for businesses to use to create zombie loyalists?
PS: Simplicity: Be honest. Be transparent. Own your mistakes. Know that you're going to screw up, and be ready to react when you do. Be helpful. Be top of mind to the customer - Make them love you and remember you. Help them when they need help without trying to sell them. You'd think these are basic things, but in fact, they're not - 88% of all customers report having problems with a business's customer service in the past six months. Horrible!
BS: How do you cut through the noise of the digital world?
PS: You create such amazing customer service, that your customers want to tell everyone how great you are, and they wind up doing your PR FOR you. They tell the world how awesome you are. And let's face it, no one believes how great you are if you're the one who needs to tell them!
BS: How can a company turn negative publicity into something positive?
PS: Simple: Fix the problem for the person and go above and beyond. Remember: There's no better lover than a former hater.
BS: Will a customer-driven business environment stay the norm?
PS: The next 50 years will be driven by the customer service economy. I truly believe that.
BS: Word association time. One word for each.
BS: What’s the biggest takeaway someone should get from the book? What’s the one thing you hope readers take with them?
PS: That it's the little things - The basic, really small things you can do to make your customers love you. That's all you need. Once you do that, they'll be with you for life, and they'll drag all their friends to do business with you, too. In other words, they'll become Zombie Loyalists!
BS: You have recently given up skydiving. What activity will replace it?
PS: I'm not sure if anything can. See, I skydive because it's self-medicating. The extra dopamine produced by a jump keeps me focused for days on end. I might find myself having to restart jumping sooner rather than later.
BS: You joined us at the recent Steiner Sports Power Breakfast with Derek Jeter and Mark Cuban. If you were hosting the next Steiner breakfast who would your guests be?
PS: I'd like to get Richard Branson and Elon Musk. Between the customer service and marketing, between the technology and the implementation, what guests would get out of this would be amazing.
BS: Now that you’ve released Zombie Loyalists, what’s next?
PS: Already working on two new books - And more importantly, watching my daughter grow up. I'm the biggest Zombie Loyalist in the world for her. :)
BS: Thank you, Peter.