Imagine the brand loyalty of Harley Davidson customers who identify so deeply with the brand, they sport permanent tattoos to demonstrate their advocacy for the same! The ability to convert customers into brand ambassadors has become crucial, especially in the times of digital media when every person with a phone and an internet connection has the power to influence opinions and perceptions, regardless of how big or small their circle of influence may be.
So how can brands convert customers into brand ambassadors?
Ask For Feedback
The simple act of asking for feedback is a terrific way to gain insights into customer preferences and opinions. Even if not executed in the form of structured feedback forms, a casual conversation can go a long way in understanding the genuine needs of the customer cementing the cond between the two entities. More importantly, the act of being asked for feedback itself makes a customer feel valued and heard.
In fact, Paul M. Dholakia of Rice University and Vicki G. Morwitz of New York University conducted a survey that found that simply asking customers for feedback encourages them to repeat business. This act works even if customers don’t end up answering the questions.
Create An Efficient Loyalty Program
Just establishing a simple loyalty program cannot ensure its effectiveness. The 2017 Colloquy Customer Loyalty Census observed that while 3.8 billion individual loyalty memberships in the U.S were recognised, only half of these were active. Colloquy also stated that 1/4th of Americans sign up for loyalty programs but leave before redeeming a reward.
To defeat this frightening statistic, firms can ensure that loyalty programs continue being appealing after the initial sign up. By making the program easy to use and redeemable for considerable discounts, customers can be incentivised to continue participating. Amazon Prime ensures that exclusive discounts and offers are made to the members along with their famous unlimited rapid shipping.
It’s crucial that a loyalty program is easy to understand and easier to use with appealing rewards to the target members. Cracking a good loyalty program can go a long way in creating brand advocacy.
Implement A Referral Scheme
One of the simplest ways to acquire new customers through brand advocacy is to create lucrative referral programs. On one hand, good referral programs reward existing customers for advocating the brand within their circle of influence, creating a powerful multiplier effect. Referral programs also help bring in new customers and enhance the brand reach.
Christophe Van den Bulte of Wharton School found that referred customers had greater loyalty and profit margins. His findings have definitely worked for Tesla since their viral ‘World’s #1 Tesla Referrer’ encouraged more than 1200 people to buy a Tesla car and the customer was rewarded with two cars worth $500,000. This tactic has helped Tesla gain a million views.
Use Personalisation Techniques
Mass-production and a ‘big-brand’ image only work for a few brands. Most customers seek and advocate for businesses that offer personalised customer experiences. Most consumers believe that brands don’t care about them; this belief stops them from being unwaveringly loyal. Disproving this belief by offering customers personalised service can help brands stand out. This personalisation can be implemented in a range of different ways, from just remembering a customer’s name to keeping them updated with items they might prefer.
Netflix’s famous personalisation and search algorithm has helped it stand out from cable and satellite providers. The streaming giant now has over 130 million subscribers, with 80% of them watching content that comes from recommendations.
In conclusion, turning customers into brand ambassadors has an extremely strong positive ripple effect. With numerous benefits and a long term impact, firms should use their existing customers to their advantage and provide support to customers to make them advocates.