How to transform customers into brand advocates
A global marketplace is replacing the local high street. Businesses that could once count the number of competitors on one hand now face hundreds or even thousands of rivals occupying space within international consumer outlets. Competing on price and service levels remains important but delivering an exceptional customer experience has become THE key differentiator.
It is vital to build a relationship with each customer that is more than simply transactional. It is no longer acceptable to allow someone who has got as far as buying from you to simply slip away. Increased personalisation is at the heart of building an emotional connection with people and creating brand loyalty – so that not only do people come back and buy from you again but also that they recommend your products and services to others, driving new business.
Here are three cost effective tips to transform your customers into brand advocates:
- Develop reward schemes with immediacy.
Customers say they prefer immediate rewards in response to their purchase. Offers of 10% off the next purchase, for example, have become run-of-the-mill so it is important to do something different. You might offer a reward that aligns with your brand, for example communication service providers have offered mobile devices and media providers have offered TVs. At the same time, consider building rewards issued for a one-off purchase into an incremental scheme, thereby drawing single purchase customers into a longer term interaction with your organisation.
- Personalise your communications to reflect the sophistication of your loyalty scheme.
It is no use segmenting your customer base to the nth degree and then sending out mass generic emails relating to your reward scheme. It is a good idea to vary the type and style of communications. Supplement traditional marketing emails with “pulse” style communications, such as those by SMS, that ask a couple of quick questions about how the customer is feeling about their interaction with the organisation.
- Reward loyal brand advocates.
Recommendations from friends and family create new brand advocates. Incentivise people to recommend a friend or post product or service reviews – perhaps by offering a prize draw to reviewers. Highly positive online shares generate a 9.5% increase in purchase intent while negative reviews decrease intent by 11%. Human interaction develops the most powerful brand advocates – empower emotional connections. Make sure your employees feel they are able to respond to customers in an open and human manner, in person and on the phone – and via social media. A well-timed, brief telephone call offering a low value reward campaign can pay massive dividends when it comes to getting a customer on side.
Business to business and business to consumer marketing has been superseded by human to human (H2H) marketing. Individual loyal customers are a high-value commodity in most fast-moving marketplaces, not only because of their own personal ongoing spend but because of their role in driving new business. Marketers who place that single loyal customer front and centre of all their efforts are best placed to establish a solid customer base for the future.
Adam Whatling is Global Engagement & Technology Lead at Love2shop Business Services, the corporate division of Park Group plc. Adam has extensive experience in delivering customer and employee engagement boosting programmes that utilise enticing...