In order to succeed in the long-run you must continuously grow your relationship with your customer. Growth only occurs when both parties increase their investment in each other; i.e. your customer buys more products and services from you and your organizations.
The goal of customer advocacy is to empower your customers to become ambassadors for your company. Some fundamental concepts you should leverage are:
Let’s look at these in detail…
The idea behind a customer champion is to build an influencer within your customer organization who serves as the role of evangelist. He or she is mainly a great communicator and is a strong supporter of your organization.
The role of a customer champion is to represent your company’s value offering. This can be done in many different ways. An executive customer champion might share some of your company’s new products at a board meeting. One customer champion might simply share a great experience they had with your company while talking to other industry partners.
At the end of the day, it’s incredibly powerful to have ‘people on the inside’ rooting for you and spreading positive news about you and your team.
Customer referral programs are built upon the belief that a customer who is satisfied and content with the service you have provided would be more than happy to recommend your company to a friend, colleague or relative who might also benefit from your company’s offering.
Successful referral programs are built upon 2 things.
The first, is trust; i.e. your ability to deliver. No one is going to put their word on the line if they don’t believe that you and your team will successfully deliver on your promises to future customers.
The second, a reward. Customers are more likely to refer if they receive an additional benefit. It could come in the form of discounts, exclusive offerings, etc. Provide an incentive for being an advocate for your company’s products and services.
The important thing is to remember:
When a customer refers you to a peer, they are putting their name and reputation on the line. Referrals are built on the belief that there is more to gain than to be lost.
Another great way to empower your customers to become ambassadors for your brand is to:
Define your company’s success in terms of your customer’s success.
The takeaway here is that prospective customers can either choose to believe in you based on the promises you make and the potential of gaining value in the future; or prospective customers can simply hear it first-hand from your customers and be convinced that you and your company are capable of adding value. Some effective ways of sharing success stories include:
- White Papers
- Case Studies
If you really want to hit it out of the park with this one, I recommend defining your company’s value proposition from your customer’s’ perspective.
- Include your case studies in your sales pitch.
- Include your customer testimonials on your website.
- Discuss customer success stories during company townhalls or offsites.
- Embrace Customer Satisfaction as the core of your success metrics.
Organize your organization’s goals and perspectives around empowering your customers to succeed.
The goal of this post was to provide you with some building blocks for turning your loyal customers into vocal advocates for your products, your company and your brand. There’s no stronger validation than that of a satisfied customer who is willing to put their word on the line for you.
The best sales pitch is a happy customer.
In the next post, I’ll cover how to capitalize on your best customer relationships to expand your business and create even more ‘shared value’.