We asked ourselves the question – is it hard to turn your customers into advocates for your business? The short answer was a very simple NO.
Keep in mind that building advocates for your business takes time, a lot of time. They won’t feel able to refer you unless they trust you and know you. With this in mind, we came up with 3 basic principles that we thought were integral to turning customers into advocates for your business.
1. Put your customer first.
It’s not hard to put your customer first, to get back to them quickly if they leave a message and to do your best to fit them into your busy schedule. If they are calling you, they need something and probably not prepared to wait that long to get it. Provide solutions, alternatives and good information.
In a world that is pretty much open 24 hours a day and where people expect to get information and / or a result quickly, business owners need to respond and respond fast or the customer will go somewhere else. Worse still, they will detract from your business by not giving good feedback, not referring other people or feeling the need to bad mouth you on social media – something all businesses try to avoid these days.
2. Build a relationship with your customer.
Building a relationship with your customer is paramount in obtaining advocates for your brand, let them in and get to know you and more importantly get to know them. Do they have a family? Do they follow a sport? What is going on in their lives or business? I'm not talking about being a busy body but I am talking about being genuinely interested in this person, being authentic and genuinely interested is not easy especially when you are busy. How do you justify spending an extra 30 minutes with one customer at the cost of another? It’s simple – that extra 30 minutes will probably turn out to be an additional 3 customers. It’s the best kind and the cheapest kind of marketing you will ever get for your business.
3. Don’t pass the buck.
Let’s face it, we are all human and things go wrong. We get stuck in traffic, we all have IT problems, we all get sick and we all make mistakes. How you deal with this is critical – do you play the blame game? In all honesty, when I am on the other side of the counter and I start to hear the blame, my standard response is so what? What are you going to do to fix it? How did your problem become my problem? The best advocate comes from turning a bad situation into a good one. Don’t even bother starting to blame someone else regardless of whether it’s legitimate or not, you will be wasting your breath and everybody’s time. Take it, embrace it and deal with it. Give your customer a result – even though it wasn't a good experience (for anyone) at the time, you can change it and they will love you for it.