“He’s just not that into you.”
That sentence is usually uttered as tough-love advice to a friend who can’t seem to let go of a guy that’s clearly let go of her. A few weeks ago, it was tough love advice to one of my friends who couldn’t understand why customers weren’t swooning over his company’s newest product.
They didn’t hate.
But most didn’t like it enough to buy it.
It wasn’t rejection that was killing the business. It was apathy.
It was painful to witness.
It is also solvable.
I’m a baseball fan. I’m also the first to admit that baseball breeds apathy amongst its fans.
4-hour games. At-bats that feel like 4 hours. Fan involvement that is limited mainly to the Wave and the 7th Inning Stretch. It’s boring.
Unless you’re in Savannah, GA.
If you’re in Savannah to see baseball, you show up 2 hours before the game starts. When the gates open, you rush to your seats because you don’t want to miss a moment of the pre-game festivities. During the game, you bounce in and out of your seat so much that it counts as a workout. After the game, you spend another hour dancing and singing with the band and the team. By the time you get home, your voice is hoarse, your head is spinning, and you swear you never knew a baseball game could be so fun.
It’s bananas. The Savannah Bananas.
Converting the apathetic into raving fans
How do they do it?
How does a collegiate summer baseball team sell out every game since 2016 and routinely attract people from around the world?
More importantly, what can you (and my friend) learn from them?
1. Do Your (customers’) Job (to be Done).
Most people go to baseball games to have fun and make memories. Most MLB franchises are focused on making a profit and winning trophies. Not a whole lot of overlap there.
The Bananas promise “to provide an electric atmosphere at all of our games! Our fans come first, and we’re dedicated to entertaining you!” There’s a complete overlap between what the fans want – have fun and make memories – and what the Bananas offer.
2. Deliver an end-to-end experience
For most businesses, designing and delivering an end-to-end experience is about investing in technology to make buying their products “frictionless” and training customer service to be more “helpful.”
The Bananas invest in delivering delight. Here’s what happened after I spent a whopping $50 to buy two tickets:
- I received an email telling me I had just made the “best decision of my life” and sharing a video of the “live” view of their offices when my order came in (dancing and chaos)
- Three days later, Carson called to thank me for buying tickets
- Two weeks before the game, they emailed to help me “mentally prepare” for the experience.
- One week before the game, they sent a permission slip to give to my boss to get out of work early.
- On gameday, they emailed a Spotify playlist so we could prepare for the game
- The day after, they emailed a handwritten thank you note from the owners
- A week after the game, they emailed a video montage of the game we attended
3. Be human
Most companies “run lean” and use technology to improve efficiencies because humans are expensive.
The Bananas are human. Carson emailed the permission slip. She also called to thank me for buying tickets. Nick sent the gameday email. He also gave me the wristband required to get to our seats. The owner, Jesse Cole, spent the night running around in a yellow tuxedo hyping up the crowd. His wife wrote a thank you letter.
4. Give thanks. No strings attached
We’ve all received the “Thank You for Your Purchase” email after an online transaction. We also know that the email will ask for something more – track your package, write a review, post on social media, buy another product.
The Bananas say, “Thank You,” then give you something more – a funny video, a permission slip, a Spotify playlist, a handwritten thank you note. They don’t ask you to buy merchandise or post about your experience on social media, or leave them a review.
If you don’t care about your product, no one else will.
In a world of baseballs, be a banana.
There are dozens of other things the Savannah Bananas do that make them unique and delightful that your business (and MLB) would struggle to copy.
But there are at least five things you can copy to stave off customer apathy and inspire die-hard, life-long, “tell all your friends” loyalty.
What did I miss? What have YOU experienced or done to be a banana?