Turning Customers into Brand Ambassadors
No doubt, you’ve heard the stories of businesses that Go Above & Beyond for their customers — handwritten follow-up notes, baked cookies, even gifts at the end of a long airplane ride!
There’s a terrific MarketingProfs article about customer relationship initiatives (you can read it here). The author, Brandon Sawalich, points out the key to a good relationship is day-in, day-out engagement.
You’ve offered either a positive one-on-one experience or some sort of event; now, how do you keep the momentum going. And, do it cost-effectively, day-in/day-out?
The customer experience doesn’t need “big bang” moments all the time…but it does require an ongoing focus on the customer.
Take a look at the CPS-designed Whole Foods Customer Comment Board image to the right. It solicits comments from customers — about anything. Store personnel responses are published back to the Board. The Board provides for proactive customer service and the process effectively addresses the 5 key elements of positive engagement mentioned in Sawalich’s article:
Listen — How do you know what your customers want and need? Ask; then listen to the answers.
Engage — Respond to their answers to #1. An added bonus: doing it in an inviting manner.
Take initiative — Anticipate your customer’s needs. Don’t you love the businesses that provide an at-the-door umbrella stand when it’s pouring rain? Or, the misters keeping you cool at the outdoor restaurant? Whole Foods publishes Weekly Specials on the Board — as well as a Store Event Calendar. Customers know they can find the latest as soon as they walk in the store.
Personalize — That’s the human touch reaching out to the individual consumer. It doesn’t have to be major: address them by name in your follow-up, keep notes in their customer file so you can customize your conversation. The Whole Foods Board encourages shoppers to reach out and thank store employees, by name, for outstanding service.
Get your employees on board — Sawalich reminds us: you need employees who are willing to go the extra mile. And, encouraging that behavior needs to be something you do everyday.
Big events are great; Sawalich reminds us that “little things” ensure your customers get a consistent, high-quality experience — and that motivates them to keep coming back for more!