Many companies reward their sales team for every deal they close. Companies pay commissions and recognize top sellers. But did you know your sales force extends beyond the people in your employ? It includes your customers as well. Nielsenreports that 84 percent of people are influenced by the things that their friends and family say about a company, product or service. If you can turn your customers into advocates, you’ll have the chance to win over 17 out of 20 of their nearest and dearest. Here is what you need to know to make it happen for your company.
Good Business Practices
First and foremost, you are going to need to have good business practices in place to convince customers to advocate for you. This means delivering a quality experience and a quality product every time. The higher the quality of your products or services, the more likely customers will value them enough to keep coming back and talk about them. In addition, you also need to be consistent in the way you provide service. The more you fulfill customer expectations, the more customers will trust that you will deliver – and tell their friends about it.
Moreover, you need to be proactive throughout the sales cycle if you are going to turn your customers into advocates. Early on, this could mean letting potential customers know that you have a product or service that solves an issue for them. Going forward, make sure there is someone available throughout the sales process to answer questions and inform them in advance of any shipping delays. Also, look to letting customers know about product updates and new ways of using features.
Surprise your Customers
You can also turn customers into advocates by surprising your customers. If you give them something that is both unexpected and valuable to them, they are going to want to talk about it. One common example is a special discount on a subscriber’s birthday, but think outside the box. Give a customer an upgrade or send customers small gifts at random. Something as small as surprise overnight shipping, a token branded item (like a tote bag) or an extra item thrown into an order will have the recipient talking about your business for days, if not weeks, to come.
Identify Potential Advocates
Once you have done what you can to be proactive with your customers and surprised them with small tokens of appreciation, spend some time identifying which customers have the most potential to become advocates. While you should be trying your best to please and delight every customer, you won’t be able to turn every customer into an advocate. No matter what efforts you make, some people will be one-off sales. But others will deliver repeat business for years to come. Identify these people by asking for customer ratings and feedback. When you find someone who is thrilled with your company, its products or services, do what you can to retain their business. Either through special discounts, free gifts or some type of loyalty program.
Payments are also a part of good business practices. When you offer customers a choice of payment options, you make it easy for them to shop with you. It is a matter of convenience as well as making those customers comfortable shopping with you. Also, choose seamless payment systems instead of clunky manual systems to remove obstacles to the shopping experience. It’s the little things that really add up.
Happy customers turn into brand advocates naturally. All it takes from you is good business practices and a few small extras just to let your customers know how much you appreciate them. Over time, the combination of quality, consistency and valuable interaction builds a relationship between your company and the client that will last for years to come.