Five ways your customers can help you get ahead

There are infinite factors that contribute to the inevitable success or failure of a business, but the secret to success may be right in front of you – and that’s your customers. My customer experience secret is a concept I call “customer advocacy.” This is when “customers go beyond brand loyalty, they go out of their way to tell their friends and family about you and basically become your walking, unpaid advertisement.”

By adopting the strategies below, your business can begin to skyrocket.

1. Focus on the customer experience

Not concentrating on the customer experience is the thing that “holds business owners back from achieving their real potential.” Due to the power of word of mouth and “word of mouse”, the customer experience is emerging as the most potent marketing strategy. Turning your customers into raving fans who do all your marketing for you is the key to exponential business growth. Provide your current customers with the best customer service, and they will do your advertising for you. You can have the best, highest quality product in the world, but if the customer experience isn’t excellent, it will create a disconnect and impact the perceived quality of your product. We are in an era where the customer experience is everything, and if you are not putting customers at the heart of everything you do, you are a business of the past.

2. Use customers as free advertising

Imagine if your customers each referred an average of two other customers to you each year. Your business would triple! It’s very difficult to achieve that with other sales, marketing, or advertising channels. Not only are your current customers free advertising for you, but a positive recommendation also proves to be a much more powerful and effective marketing strategy.

3. Celebrate them

Strive past customer advocates, and reach for “raving fans” who cannot help but to talk you up to other potential customers. How? I recommend celebrating major milestones with your customers, whether that be their birthday, number of visits or purchases, or anniversary since first purchase. Celebrating these milestones gives you a unique opportunity to cement the relationship you have with your customers. Because there are loyal customers who buy your product or service, love your brand, and are loyal to your business but aren’t your vocal advocates, you need to find a way to make them talk about you. Maybe sending them a small birthday gift might give them that reason.

4. Give them incentives

Every business owner’s favourite customers are the people that keep coming back for more. Therefore, having a referral-based business increases average loyalty and average dollar spent. Customer advocacy delivers exponential impact! Create a system where if a customer refers a friend, they receive some sort of reward for doing so. Not only are you welcoming a new customer, but your already loyal customer also advances up the scale towards a raving fan because you just rewarded them for their support. This is a great way to keep growing through utilisation of your current customers.

5. Utilise them to help staff retention

Research shows that businesses which offer a superior customer experience generally attract and retain quality staff. Who doesn’t want to work for a brand that values their customers, empowers their staff to put their customers first and encourages a fun environment where communication, celebration and connection are paramount? Customers who are excited about your service, in turn, create staff who are more so excited and dedicated to your mission.

Amanda Stevens, speaker, business advisor and featured in “Secrets of Business Experts Exposed”

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