Being an evangelist is an acceptable and creative thing. In business. Brand evangelists are more than fans of a company or product or service. They are actively involved in telling other people about their experience, about their connection, about how the brand has changed their life.
Although a brand evangelist may get some perks, like first news about new products or background stories, it’s a volunteer role. They are talking because of their love for the brand.
In order for evangelists to work, however, there must be a great brand. There must be outstanding customer support people who can answer questions patiently and clearly. People who can explain and illustrate. People who can make sure that evangelists are not left with nothing of value to talk about.
I’m wondering if there might be a place for spiritual customer support. People who are willing to not be out selling, but who are willing to explain.
Often, people will buy a product because their friend, a brand evangelist, says, “This is amazing.” But when they have a question that never occurred to the evangelist, they hear, “You just do this. Or that. Because it always works for me.”
At that moment, a call to customer support is crucial. Patient teaching is more powerful at that moment than enthusiasm. Quality customer support understands that scolding is seldom helpful, that perceived attacks on intelligence lead to defensiveness and discouragement.
The religious metaphor of evangelism has been compelling for brands. The business metaphor of customer service may be just as compelling for communities attempting to follow Jesus and love each other. Rather than all trying to be brand evangelists, contrary to personality, it may be worthwhile to be the rest of the company. Or, to use another metaphor, to be the rest of the body.
I wrote this several years ago. But I’m finishing up my book of pandemic prayers so I’m sharing some from the past.