7 Steps for Converting your Customers to Ambassadors
As a small business, you may or may not have the money to pay for celebrity endorsements or to contract brand ambassadors. However, what you do have is the mind and the available resources to convert some of your loyal customers into ambassadors. Note that not all your customers belong to this category, hence, my use of 'some'. However, the ones that do belong do so for a couple of reasons:
- You have provided great value to them through your products, your services or your personality.
- You have been able to get them to trust you.
- You have inspired them in one way or more.
- They may be your friends or family members and feel obliged to patronize you.
For whichever reason, you have done yourself a lot of good. However, the smart thing to do will be for you take extra steps to turn these loyal customers into ambassadors who will represent your brand and business and tell people about you, spreading the news about your business without you having to pay big money for it.
Here are __ ways you can convert customers into ambassadors:
- Identify who they are. Make a list and get their contact details
The first thing to do in order to convert your loyal customers into ambassadors is to identify them. The easiest way to do this is through social media. You have to be alert to any mention of your business or brand name. You can do this through search.
Also, if you do not have any social media account for your business (I don't know why you shouldn't), you can just ask around. Once you have identified these people, get as many contacts as you can such as their office addresses, social media account usernames, emails, etc.
- Ask for feedback from them. This way, you have started a relationship with them
The way to start a relationship with a customer is simply by asking or by initiating. Hardly will a customer walk up to you and offer to be your brand ambassador for free. So, the key thing to do is to ask these customers what they think about your business, your products and your services. Their response is what is regarded as feedback. It is then up to you to use this feedback to your advantage. Using these feedbacks for the short, medium and long term benefit of your business is paramount.
- Find out a problem they are having and solve it ASAP
Your business is not perfect. There will always be opportunities to improve it. Asking your customers about the issues they have with your business is one of the easiest ways of identifying where to improve. Nevertheless, you must take further steps to address those issues and challenges. That way,you are doing three things: first, you are endearing yourself to these loyal customers; next, you are improving your business; and finally, you are gaining more customers.
- Make yourself available to them
Every customer loves to be appreciated. For me, making yourself available to them only increases your popularity. Making yourself available to your loyal customers includes giving them your personal contact details. It also includes letting them know you well enough. This will make them create a link between you and the business. So anytime they think if your business, they think of you. Hence, the nicer you are, the more nice and positive things they have to say about your business.
- Show them you are listening, even when they really don't expect you to
Customers always have a lot to say. Most times, they won't say it to your face. Make it a habit to listen to what they are saying even when they don't expect you to. For example, if you overhear a customer talking to her friend about something wrong with your store, don't let them know you heard them at that point. Go on and effect the change. By the time they see the improvement, they will be surprised, then, let them know you heard them and decided to implement their idea. Thank them for their contribution and then encourage them to suggest more ways you can improve. You will surely not only retain them as customers, but you will transform them into ambassadors for your business.
- Reward them for carrying your torch
After all is said and done, you need to reward your ambassadors for all their hard work, even if they don't ask for it. You can offer them gifts, discounts, and stuff that will make them happy. This way, you are showing appreciation.
- Build a community around them
The final step is to build a community around these ambassadors. This strengthens their influence for you. The community could be virtual or in reality, i.e. on social media or off it. Make them feel like partners in your business and you will be thankful for it.