Tuesday, March 30, 2010

 

How to turn customers into ambassadors for your business

Guess what? You already know how, because you’re already doing it.

More specifically, your best customers are already doing it. You may not know it, you may not know exactly who’s doing it, and you may not know how they’re doing it or how they got that way. But it’s happening.

Some of your customers went from prospects to new customers to happy customers to ambassadors. Your job is to find out how and why, and establish that path for more customers moving forward.

In other words, don’t artificially engineer a path to make customers happy. Don’t create an incentive program or a loyalty program or other customer success initiatives out of the air. Find out what’s occurring naturally, what’s already driving higher loyalty and ambassadorship among your customers, and build processes to make it happen more often.

The first step is to segment your ambassadors from your “average” customer. Then ask the following questions:

  • What was their path to becoming a brand ambassador? How did they get there?
  • Who’s on that path today, and where did it start? What were the important milestones?
  • Are there shortcuts or catalysts on that path? Are there experiences, results, features or otherwise that accelerate the path to advocates?
  • Who helped those customers along the way? Who were their mentors and/or guides? Who (besides you, besides your company) can help show them the way?
  • What are those ambassadors doing to share their passion with others? With either other customers or prospective customers?

Many of these questions you can answer by looking at past behavior and performance. Dig into your customer database and analytics, and find out what your ambassadors have in common.

You will find ambassadorship accelerants that will surprise you. That are easy to replicate. That cost next to nothing.

This analysis can take some time, but it’s worth it. In the meantime, do the following:

  • Underpromise and overdeliver.
  • Respond. Quickly. Personally.
  • Be accessible.
  • Be human.
  • Make things simpler.
  • Focus on results.

These things always work. And notice most of them are about service, not product. Even in a product-oriented business, service can mean everything. And much of what will work is faster, easier and cheaper to make happen than you may realize.


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