Written by Vivek Jaiswal | Co-founder, Customer Guru
Marketing is the first step towards sales, but it is customer experience that brings profits to a business. Marketing only helps you to bring first time customers. It is the experience associated with your product, customer service, and the brand that will bring customers back to you. A good business leader always gives priority to customer happiness, because he knows the value it adds to his company. His focus is as much on customer retention as it is on customer acquisition. He knows that loyal customers are like brand ambassadors! A memorable customer experience that customers can’t help talking about with their friends and family, would be a testimonial rather than an advertisement. Great brands are great owing to their customers. Apple, for example, gives one of the best customer experience. Starting from the marvellous Apple retail stores, the packaging, the features of the product and the customer service. Each and every step of customer interaction is designed and managed to the last detail. And this is perhaps the reason why loyal Apple customers turn into ‘Apple fanboys’ who evangelise its products and get more customers through their network.
So, what does it take to turn customers into brand ambassadors?
As much as you’d like to believe that this is black magic, it isn’t! You just need to be insanely focussed on delivering the most exceptional customer experience. Here are a few steps to make it easy for you:
1. Know your customers
You should be well aware of what kind of customers interact with you. Know their background where do they come from? What do they do? What age group are they from? What do they like about your product? Get personal, know their interests, likes, dislikes everything! This helps you understand your customers, know their needs, and serve them even before they ask for it. You can modify your product or create a new one accordingly. Know where your customer could be found, meet them personally.
When it’s so difficult to keep in touch with your own friends, I can totally understand that knowing your customers could be incredibly hard. That’s where technology comes to your rescue. I’ve written about utilising the gold mine of information in your CRM that can help you keep record of your customer’s data and know your customers well.
2. Engage your customers
Once you know your customer make them feel your presence. Send them wishes on special occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, festivals. Let them know what you are doing. You also need to know how satisfied your customers are with your product. Track the performance of your product. Engage them in surveys, get feedback, ask for suggestions, involve them in product designing. Pass on information, send articles about something your customer might find interesting. Share their reviews or retweet what they say about your product. Do not overplay to annoy the customer but subtly enough to gain their interest and keep them engaged.
3. Give them an amazing customer experience
Not only good but a great experience! The customers should walk away with a memorable experience; an experience that will keep them coming back for more. We’ve shared several amazingly shocking customer experience stories about how companies like Starbucks, Nordstrom, and Ritz-Carlton deliver memorable customer experience. These are inspiring stories on how you could build a culture of delivering exceptional customer experience every time, all the time!
4. Build a great employee experience too
Apple doesn’t hire people based on their vast experience but for their passion, spirit and a collaborative spirit. Each and every employee of your company should be determined to provide a good experience to the customers. They should be able to listen to and figure out customer grievances and provide them with quick and best solutions. You wouldn’t succeed in delivering a great customer experience without a great employee experience – happy employees create happier customers!
5. Make them your ambassadors!
Once you are able to gain your customers’ loyalty by knowing and engaging them, and delivering exceptional experiences to them, your job is almost done. You need to do this consistently and over a long period of time and your customers will start converting to your brand ambassadors. Send demos of your product to the customer. Invite them to your product launches. And treat them like invited guests, as Mr. Jeff Bezos says. Remember it is not a one time project, but this should become the culture of your organisation. Only then would you succeed in building an army of your brand ambassadors.
Loyal customers are utterly important to any business. They bring in new customers, are less likely to switch to your competitors, are your best advocates, and are less expansive to service. They are your walking advertisements. So just follow these simple measures and go get them!