Arment Dietrich

The Value of a Raving Fan

By: Arment Dietrich | August 8, 2012 | 

Today’s guest post is written by Lisa Gerber.

Two weeks ago, I spent the weekend up in British Columbia for a mountain biking trip.

If you’ve never been to Southeastern, British Columbia, please add it to your list. I think it is one of the most beautiful places on earth.

We had reserved a studio in The Sutton Place Hotel at the base of Revelstoke Mountain Resort.

After a long day of travel, we arrived that Friday evening to learn the studio we had booked was oversold. So they double-upgraded to a top-floor, corner, two-bedroom suite.


The hotel had a choice when we arrived: They could have transferred us down the street with an affiliate at a comparable price, apologize for the inconvenience, and protect their bottom line. Or they could have double-upgraded us.

A funny thing happened at that moment at check-in. Everything suddenly became AMAZING. It was like check-in LSD.

We walked to the elevators commenting on what great service we just had at the front desk (well, duh) and how charming the guy was. The lobby became even more stunning than it was when we had arrived. The elevator doors opened right away. Wow, the elevator is so NICE. Look at these hallways! And we opened the door to our place, and we were high-fiving.

They sacrificed a bit of profit, and in return, got a pair of raving fans. We couldn’t book our ski trip for this winter fast enough. Is there a realtor available? We think we need a place here for retirement.

I’ve told about 10 friends locally, plus you.

It made me think about good business on the (long) drive home. What is the value of a raving fan, a loyal customer, a long-term employee? When we make decisions that reflect on the bottom line, are we taking all the proper metrics into consideration?

Maximizing revenue and keeping costs down is the name of the game in business school but don’t forget the value of praises sung. Calculate that value and ask yourself every day, “Did I have the opportunity to create another fan?”

I’m not saying we can all afford to double-upgrade our customers. But we can’t afford to not spend every single day wondering what we can do to blow the minds of our customers. What is the real cost when you sacrifice a few hundred dollars here and there for someone who just became passionate about your brand?

We could have been transferred down the road and it wouldn’t have been the end of the world. We get it; things happen. It’s not like they would have left us out on the street. Would we come back? Maybe, maybe not. Would we remember? No, we’d soon forget all about it.

Will we remember this place? Yes.

  • +10 internetz for using “check-in LSD”. 
    I love hearing stories like this. Real, scalable and repeatable instances of customer service that mean much more than Morton’s showing up with a steak for Peter Shankman in response to a tweet or a hotel surprising a young guest with a birthday cake and boogie board.  

    •  @jasonkonopinski I wanted to use the LSD scene in Mad Men as an analogy until I remembered that was the scene that ended their marriage. #badanalogy.

      •  @Lisa Gerber Yeah, that’s bad juju – but a hysterical scene. I heart John Slattery. 🙂 

  • John_Trader1

    A perfect example of how making a small investment in a customer can reap huge dividends down the road. With the state of the economy it seems that sometimes business owners are deathly afraid of making even the smallest of concessions for fear that any deduction from their bottom line will break them. What some fail to realize is that the teeniest of gestures can make a world of difference and this is what consumers want. They aren’t looking for grandiose acknowledgements or huge discounts, just nice small gestures that leave you with a good taste in your mouth. Or in your case, a little white piece of paper on your tongue.

    •  @John_Trader1 This is the best comment ever. Way to tie it in at the end!!!! LOL!!!!!

  • magriebler

    And everyone reading your blog post will remember this place too. In fact, I’ve made a note of it should I be lucky enough to go to BC. (And I hope I will.)
    Stories like this create loyal customers out of people who haven’t even had a first-hand experience with the Sutton brand. That’s great ROI.

    •  @magriebler That’s a great point! and do try and get there some time. There are No. People. unless you go to Banff. 🙂

      • magriebler

         @Lisa Gerber Yay! Who needs people, right?

  • Would have to agree. Being a raving fan is like being on the new crack. (OK, I wouldn’t know. A bottle of wine? Anyway…)

    Having raving fans? Is like having an auto-pilot marketing team. Great article.

    •  @Tinu I call red swedish fish crack so let’s say it’s like eating red swedish fish!!!

      •  @Lisa Gerber Agreed.

  • yvettepistorio

    Agreed!! These are my favorite stories to read too. I had a similar thing happen to me at Bungalows 313 in Sonoma (if you need a place to stay in Sonoma, stay here! It’s fabulous!) It’s the little (and sometimes big) things that companies do to please their customers. It makes them stand out and earn raving fans.

    •  @yvettepistorio Bungalows 313, adding to my travel wish list! 

  • Sharron20gi7ouu
  • So you just jacked up their Net Promoter Score by 20 points and got their Director of Customer Experience a big bonus. Looks like everyone wins! 

    •  @barrettrossie W00000T!!!! This made me laugh out loud. 

  • rdopping

    That’s Canadian’s for ya. You didn’t realize all of Canada is like that?

    •  @rdopping they were bribed. You forget that @Lisa Gerber  is harper’s cousin. She is heavy in the tar sands business and hopes to turn all of BC into a big oil sands processing plant.

      •  @HowieG  @rdopping I do know all of Canada is like that. That’s why I go there as often as I can!!
         @HowieG wrong, condos. I see condos everywhere. 

        • rdopping

          @Lisa Gerber @HowieG too late. We already have more condoms than NYC

        • rdopping

          Damn autocorrect. I didn’t mean condoms. CONDOS for heavens sake.

        • belllindsay

           @rdopping HAHAHAHA!! 

        •  @rdopping LMAO!!!

      • rdopping

        @HowieG @Lisa Gerber thought so.

  • I heard @bdorman264 called the hotel and told them who you were. He then got another couple booted from the suite you were in and sent to the days inn down the street with a bunch of turnips and told never to come back. That couple has now lit up facebook twitter and yelp and turned out they had 84 Klout but the Hotel never checked. They just accepted Bill’s word that they were Uzbek drug and gun runners heavy in the opium trade.
    Now the hotel has only one room booked for ski season and they cut their rates in half after you made your reservation. They are contemplating booking a Bieber Convention that week because they are desperate.
    Always check Klout!

    •  @HowieG  @bdorman264 I hope you’re saving all this for your book. 
      A Bieber convention – oy. 

  • belllindsay

    Sigh. Got here too late – and just can’t top @HowieG . Great story Lisa, and way to go for sharing. Something like this (and the blog post, and the shares, etc.) should be help up to the nose of every single CEO who just “doesn’t get the return on social media”. Le sigh. 

    •  @belllindsay  @HowieG Of course, they are the ones who aren’t reading this, but it’s still fun to share a story. 🙂

  • peterpanwine

    @belllindsay Great outcome @spinsucks

  • SHDickson

    @kristinlubben @KristenDaukas @ginidietrich @lisagerber Agreed!

    • lisagerber

      @shdickson @KristinLubben @KristenDaukas Thank you! very much. 🙂

  • belllindsay

    @CorrieDavidson Thanks for the RT! 🙂 @spinsucks

  • belllindsay

    @bobturek Thanks for the share Bob! 🙂 cc @SpinSucks

  • KristenDaukas

    thanks for the RT, dude 😉 @SHDickson @ginidietrich @lisagerber

  • Pingback: Morning Announcements: Billboards That Recognize Your Face & Rebranding to Reconnect | Duncan/Day Advertising()

  • Pingback: When Great Customer Service to One is Bad to Many by @adamtoporek()