Creating a Customer Advocate

As a business owner your goal is to increase your brand’s visibility. In practice, this is best achieved through referrals from existing customers.

Social media and review sites such as Twitter and TripAdviser have made it really easy for customers to instantly share their opinions about service and product experiences so what your customers are saying really matters. That’s why you need to be concerned about customer satisfaction and feedback.

Any past or current customer is a potential advocate for your business, but first you need to give them something to talk about.

Here are a few basic ideas that will help you get positive feedback:

Polish your customer communication skills.

Ever received an email that looked so bland and generic that you even wondered if they had sent it to you by mistake? Well, don’t let that happen to your customers.

Cut and paste and text expansion shortcut programs save time and make you more efficient but take time and do some homework to personalise your emails.

If a customer sends you an angry email or a makes a complaint face to face, you need to have trained employees who will know how to deal with it – because one unsatisfied customer can start an avalanche of potentially unsatisfied customers.

Train your employees to do some research, address people by name and most all, ask them what they would like done to resolve their complaint. Be prepared and stay level headed while dealing with customers in all sorts of situations. Your customers need to see that you respect them and their time, and that you are ready to devote the time necessary to resolve any problems that might arise.

Follow up a few days later to make sure everything is back on track.

Use social media to engage customers and build your brand.

Today, every business is on social media. But if you really want to stand out, you can’t just write a post, or tweet out your blog, and leave it at that. You need to engage. Show customers that you care by answering their comments, questions and concerns.

Create stories that people can relate to. Start or end a post/tweet by posing a question, a message that will resonate with your audience and increase your visibility. Being engaged in social media shows that you care about your customers and offers great potential for customer advocacy.

Apologise when you make a mistake.

Sometimes it is difficult to keep an eye on everything that’s going on. From time to time, everyone makes a mistake. The important part is to be able to admit when you are wrong.

Customers will be angrier about you ignoring an issue than they are about the problem itself. Whether it’s not being able to answer the email in time, a staff member giving poor service or forgetting about a customer’s problem – simply admit you made a mistake and try to fix it as soon as possible. Showing your human side paves the way for creating and nurturing customer advocacy.

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