What are your tips on transforming loyal customers into brand advocates?
That was the question posed to me by Ashley Kaczmar, Community Manager at MartechExec, for the “advocacy, loyalty and referrals” area of their website. If you haven’t checked them out yet, MartechExec is described as a place for marketers to learn, share and discuss relevant topics with their peers. I am a sucker for business and customer relationship building so it was an easy ask.
It’s one thing to acquire new customers, and another to make them loyal. But to go beyond that into brand advocacy (aka Cheerleader mode), a company must take the relationship from transactional and quantitative to personal and qualitative.
A customer can be loyal for multiple reasons (superior product, great service, consistency, convenience, better than average customer service, etc.) but to move beyond that threshold, there has to be a personal, human connection.
So what takes them beyond that point? Here are four tips to help.
Tip 1 – Specificity: ensure correspondence is about your customer, their values and interests. Use CRM software (customer relationship manager) to know who they are, your shared history, their preferences and more to show you’re interested in them as people, rather than as a dollar sign. We keep track of our friend’s birthdays, anniversaries and milestones (or at least Facebook does for us) so why not our customers?
Tip 2 – Familiarity: be conversational, mindful and friendly when engaging your customers, as if they are a long time friend. That includes using their name, showing empathy/compassion/interest, asking sincere questions. You’re building a relationship, not a contact list, so ensure your tone and approach is all about ensuring a good comfort level.
Tip 3 – Exclusivity: provide access to service/products that regular customers don’t, to make them feel special and closer to your brand. Provide incentives and discounts for their loyalty. Helping them move, letting them borrow your car, watering their plants when they’re away on vacation…these are perks that best friends get by having a relationship with you. So your customer BFFs should get perks for being your friend that acquaintances don’t.
Tip 4 – Creativity: ensure that your efforts actually look like you’re putting effort into them. A video. An audio message. A handwritten note. Automation doesn’t inspire brand advocacy. Sure it expedites a customer experience, and customers will appreciate it, but they won’t feel a connection to convenience. Take the opportunity to show you care with some creativity, like video or audio, which can bring tone, personality and warmth.
If your customers are showing their loyalty to you, to inspire their brand advocacy, you have to show how you’re loyal to them.
This was originally posted in the blog How the Pros Turn Loyal Customers into Brand Advocates. I really encourage you to check it out. There’s some great stuff in there.