Word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most effective ways to promote a business. This is why customer advocacy is so important. Customers trust other customers more than they trust advertising or marketing campaigns. In fact, 92% of consumers trust recommendations from friends and family over any other type of advertising. Customer advocacy is when your customers promote your brand or products to their friends and family. It is a powerful marketing tool that can help you reach new customers, increase brand awareness, and improve customer loyalty.
How to Build Customer Advocacy
Build a Strong Customer Relationship
Building a strong relationship with your customers is the first step toward customer advocacy. When customers feel valued and appreciated, they are more likely to recommend your business to others. One company that has excelled in building strong customer relationships is Zappos.
Zappos is an online shoe and clothing retailer known for their exceptional customer service. They offer free shipping, free returns, and a 365-day return policy. They also have a team of customer service representatives who are available 24/7 to assist customers. This dedication to customer service has earned them a loyal customer base who are willing to recommend Zappos to their friends and family.
Provide Exceptional Customer Service
Providing exceptional customer service is another important factor in customer advocacy. When customers have a positive experience with your business, they are more likely to tell others about it. One company that has built its brand on exceptional customer service is Ritz-Carlton.
Ritz-Carlton is a luxury hotel chain that is known for its personalized service. They have a policy of “anticipatory service,” which means they anticipate guests’ needs before they even ask. This level of service has earned them a loyal customer base who are willing to pay a premium for their services. The Ritz-Carlton also encourages its customers to leave feedback and reviews, which helps to promote their brand to a wider audience.
Encourage and Reward Referrals
Encouraging and rewarding referrals is another effective way to harness the power of customer advocacy. Referral programs incentivize customers to refer their friends and family to your business. One company that has successfully implemented a referral program is Dropbox.
Dropbox is a cloud storage company that offers free storage space to customers who refer their friends. This referral program has helped Dropbox to grow its user base to over 500 million users. Dropbox also encourages its customers to share their experiences on social media, which helps to spread the word about their brand.
Leverage Social Media
Social media is another powerful tool for customer advocacy. By leveraging social media, you can reach a wider audience and engage with your customers on a more personal level. One company that has successfully leveraged social media for customer advocacy is Starbucks.
Starbucks has a strong social media presence with over 17 million followers on Instagram alone. They use social media to engage with their customers, share user-generated content, and promote their products. They also have a mobile app that rewards customers for their purchases, which encourages them to visit Starbucks more often.
Share Customer Success Stories
Sharing customer success stories is another effective way to harness the power of customer advocacy. When customers see how your products or services have helped others, they are more likely to trust and recommend your business. One company that has successfully shared customer success stories is TOMS Shoes.
TOMS Shoes is a shoe company that donates a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair of shoes sold. They share customer success stories on their website and social media, which helps to promote their brand and their charitable mission. This has earned them a loyal customer base who are passionate about their brand and who are more likely to recommend TOMS Shoes to others.
The companies mentioned above are just a few examples of businesses that have successfully used customer advocacy to promote their brand. By following their example and implementing these strategies in your own business, you can create a loyal customer base who are willing to promote your brand to their friends and family.
It takes time and effort to build strong relationships with your customers and earn their trust. However, the benefits are well worth the investment. By harnessing the power of customer advocacy, you can grow your business and create a brand that people love and trust.