client-ambassadors
In my last blog post, I discussed the topic of creating remarkable customer experiences to engage and retain your customers, so now I want to show you how to turn your current customers into your brand ambassadors to generate revenue and save costs. But first, let’s get back to the basics as I re-introduce and illuminate the hidden value of your clients, which I think is often neglected or forgotten.

“A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so.”
—Mahatma Gandhi

If you don’t have a big marketing budget or if you don’t have a dedicated team, it can be expensive and time consuming to consistently execute the strategies on your marketing plan (Don’t have a marketing plan? Download our marketing calendar to kickstart your marketing initiatives for 2014). In reality, the cost of acquiring new customers is five to ten times the cost of retaining an existing one and the average repeat customer spends more than a new customer. So why not spend more time trying to deliver great customer experiences?

According the McKinsey, 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated. Here is a blueprint outlining how to effectively turn your clients into your sales force.

1. Clients Should Always Be Your #1 Priority

clients-firstIt’s easy to hyper-focus on new prospects, new leads and sales activity distracting your attention away from your current customers. That new, shiny toy makes it easy to forget about your reliable, loyal friend who has stood by your side since the beginning. By nature, we like to hunt and once the hunt is over and you’ve locked them in as a client, you’re onto your next one. But, don’t make this mistake! Your clients are valuable and if you neglect them, you’re just asking them to abandon ship and go to your competitor. You don’t need to do any favors for your competitors. Remember to listen and be responsive to their needs, requests and preferences.

2. Make Yourself Referable

referrable As we’ve already learned, customers buy with emotion and they buy based on how they feel they are being treated and how they feel about the service they are receiving. Nobody is going to rave about an adequate or satisfactory experience. Happy customers can be a great source for referrals and lead generation. And there’s no doubt that referrals or introductions are far more successful in generating qualified leads than cold marketing initiatives. People often surround themselves with like-minded people with common interests, beliefs, backgrounds, so chances are high that they’ll refer more customers like themselves. A good way to leverage your remarkable customer service is to create a referral program using incentives, discounts or even creating events prompting your clients to bring a friend.

3. Provide Value

add-valueI think the rule of thumb for great customer experience is to always go above and beyond and exceed customer expectations. Give clients access to information or resources that are not included in your product or service offerings. Content marketing is great way to add value by providing eBooks, tutorials or giveaways that appeal to your customers. For example, we regularly give away freebies to our clients ranging from checklists, guides or even design templates.

p.s. Stay tuned for our upcoming design freebies we’re giving EVERY week during the month of December!

4. Be Exclusive

be-exclusiveEveryone likes to feel special or important. Like they’ve made it into the club or with the in-crowd. Give your fans special privileges or special access to upcoming events, announcements or product launches. Google does a great job of this by giving their loyal fans and followers invites to their latest product or service launch. When they first launched Gmail, they allowed Blogger users to test the service and they also sent out invites to Gmail users that they could then extend to their friends.

5. Let them have some skin in the game

advisory-boardIf you want to appeal to your customers and want to tap into what they think, then why not get them involved in the process! Create an advisory board with 5-10 of your A-clients and meet quarterly, semi-annually or once a year. Use them as a sounding board for product and service ideas, identifying industry trends and providing feedback on growth plans. Not only are their insights and opinions critical, but it also creates a sense of loyalty because they feel like they are contributing to the progress and forward movement of the company.