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For every brand, there is little else more important than customers. The brand has been crafted for this audience: the muse of the business. As a result, these customers can make — or completely obliterate — the brand in question.
When running a business, owners often obsess over the delivery: satisfying the customer, providing what was promised quickly and charging competitive rates. These elements are all fine and good: hallmarks of a business with repeat clients and customers. But consider this: when was the last time you sang the praises of a brand who merely met your expectations? You paid, they delivered. The end. Were these businesses memorable? Did they exceed your expectations? Was there anything unique about this experience?
We all know that word-of-mouth marketing is the most effective way to promote a brand. When we receive a recommendation from a friend or family member, or read a slew of raving online reviews, we are more likely to listen and bump these brands to the top of our list, aren’t we?
How can we inspire our customer to rave about our products and services? We turn them into brand ambassadors, that’s how.
Definition of a brand ambassador: a customer who visibly flaunts the adoption, use and preference for a certain brand. This goes beyond brand loyalty–this is an individual who is excited to share your services with the world!
Provide exceptional product or service
Of course you should always be sure to provide the most exceptional product or service possible. Consistency, dependability, stellar communication and trust are all key ingredients to maintaining a solid relationship with your customers. Be sure to put processes in place to ensure that nothing slips through the cracks. And if you make a mistake, be the first to admit it! Your customers will appreciate your candor and willingness to make things right. By streamlining your process and producing consistent quality, your efforts are sure be noticed and appreciated.
“Enhance your communication by putting yourself in their shoes, ask questions and listen to them.”
Focus on customer experience
Once you’ve honed in on your exceptional product or service, you will then have to consider how they feel about it. Treat each customer as an individual: help them to understand that you are on their side–willing to go above and beyond to address their pain points. The process does not end once the sale is made. It’s important to build on these relationships by showing respect and gratitude to your customers. Enhance your communication by putting yourself in their shoes, ask questions and listen to them. Be certain that your brand is aligned with the goal of achieving full customer satisfaction by remaining helpful, thoughtful and forthcoming with key information.
When’s the last time you received a handwritten note, personal email or a thoughtful, personalized token from a business? It made an impression on you, didn’t it? How about the last time you received a referral from a friend or client? Have you considered sending that individual a note, gift card or some other form of appreciation? These efforts could make all the difference in the world.
Today, much of our business dealings are highly automated and depersonalized. Thoughtful human touches have fallen by the wayside as a result. You can get someone’s attention by breaking the mold: doing something unique, thoughtful and unexpected!
Optimize social networking
Speaking of digitization, spreading the word and referring businesses has never been easier or more effective thanks to social media. By leveraging these channels, we’re able to engage and connect with our customers, allowing them to feel part of the brand experience. By inviting them to share their thoughts and engage in real-time conversation, you’re giving them the opportunity to participate, engage and share your brand’s content to their personal social network.
When engaging social media, be mindful of best practices, be consistent and always share posts of value to your audience. Be a good listener and pay attention to what your fans are interested in. If all you do is talk about your company and yammer on about how great you are, your customers will disengage. In other words, if you don’t have a plan, don’t bother being on social media.
Who doesn’t love incentives? Whether it’s a gift or a discount code, customers will feel surprised, delighted and appreciated when a quality incentive comes their way. You can personalize these tokens of appreciation by sending customers gift cards on their birthday, sending a message with something of value thanking them for a referral, or consider sending something just for the hell of it! Keep your customers guessing, use the element of surprise and let them know that your brand is paying attention!