Part 3 of the “Business Relationships Series”: Why entrepreneurs should focus on ways to turn customers into advocates.
It’s no longer enough to connect with a prospect just at the time they’re ready to make a purchase. Modern customers are now trained to do their research before making a purchase. And technology has made it easy for them to discover your happy customers (or not), and those customer reviews will play a large role in persuading prospects to buy from you.
One recent survey found that 90% of consumers said that positive reviews influenced their buying decision. Another survey discovered that 86% of customers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience while, conversely, 32% of customers will turn their back on a company they love, after just one bad experience.
Turning customers into advocates
Brand advocates are passionate champions of their favourite organizations—and will tell others about their amazing experience with your company. In fact, according to a recent study, advocates are two to three times more effective at attracting new customers to your brand.
Ready to build an army of brand advocates? These strategies will help you and your clients get even more out of your relationship:
1. Never take customers for granted
Ensure that your product or service never slips from the excellent levels your customers have come to expect—and be diligent in maintaining an outstanding customer experience. Maintain consistent communication, spend time with your customers and learn as much about them as possible.
This might be over the long-term or even just in a quick phone call. Use that knowledge to be selflessly helpful by providing ongoing, valuable advice and ensuring that your relationship is mutually beneficial.
2. Under-promise and over-deliver
Always strive to deliver exactly what was promised, on time, and then some. You can also provide added value to your customers in ways that have little monetary cost to you but considerable value to them.
For example, do a quick follow-up to continue nurturing the customer relationship after they make their purchase. Something as simple as a check-in email to see how they’re enjoying your product or providing them with a helpful piece of content after their purchase can go a long way in leaving a lasting impression. You can also wish them a happy birthday if you have that information, or even reach out to B2B clients and congratulate them on a new product launch or business achievement.
3. Be there for them in tough times
When clients are going through a difficult period, do what you can to help them get through it. For example, you may choose to accept late payments or defer late-payment charges for those who are experiencing a rough patch. You could even suggest a payment plan for clients who are having cash flow issues.
Depending on your relationship with your client, you may also consider referring them to contacts who might be able to help them out, such as with alternative financing options or inventory liquidation.
4. Create a customer advocacy team
Dedicate a team, or internal staff, to managing a customer advocacy program. Having a specific person or group responsible for nurturing customers into advocates will formalize the process and ensure that it’s a key strategy in your customer growth plan.
In addition, consider establishing a loyalty or referral program, which can encourage customers to become advocates. Then, task your customer advocacy team with managing its growth, and the positive spin-offs will naturally evolve throughout your entire organization.
If you’re looking to grow and expand your business into the future, making strong business relationships is the cornerstone to success. Here at Liquid Capital, we’re business owners, too, so we understand what our clients go through. While we’re dedicated to helping out clients with their financing needs, we also get to know them as people so we can understand their business challenges and opportunities—and then work out a plan to be the most useful partners for them.