Ann McFerran understands the power of loyal customers. Ann is the CEO and Founder of Glamnetic, a magnetic lash beauty brand that she built from her small living room in Koreatown, Los Angeles, into a $50 million global company. Her secret? Ann is really good at turning customers into super fans.
I’ve served small and midsize businesses (SMBs), like Glamnetic, my whole career. These businesses are some of the scrappiest, grittiest, and most successful out there. And they are run by some of the most innovative, determined, and passionate people around.
One of the things that makes SMBs so special is their connection to their own customers. When it comes to serving customers, small business owners are on the front lines. They know and understand their customers in a very personal way.
How, then, can SMBs take these strong connections with customers and translate that into business growth? How can you activate your customer base to be vocal advocates for your business? While the journey to supporting your customers is different for every business, here are four tips that I’ve found helpful in leading teams to put customers first.
How to turn customers into fans of your business
1. Lead with values that serve your customers
Regardless of how you serve your customers, or who your customers are, there is one underlying principle that will help you earn their trust: values. Your company’s values are the foundation upon which your business is built. They are a North Star, guiding you through strategy, growth, and decision-making. Values are also how your business shows up in the world.
In my experience, businesses with values that authentically and empathetically put their customers first have an advantage. Values like these help motivate employees, build common purpose, and ensure your team is always focused on the thing that matters most—customers. And when customers see that you have built a company that is entirely geared towards helping them, you’ll be rewarded with trust and endorsements.
If your business already has a set of values written down, talk to your team about how those values translate to customers. And if you don’t, it’s never too late to articulate a set of values that aligns with your company and your customers.
2. Listen and learn from your customers
One of the things I ask every member of my team to do is to walk in our customers’ shoes. It sounds so simple, but empathy really is a superpower.
Whether you are a CEO, or just starting your career as an intern, set aside time to meet with your customers. Talking to small businesses is my favorite part of my job. It gives me the opportunity to hear directly from our customers what their pain points are, to understand from them how they use our platform, and to learn about how we can improve.
Listen in to customer service calls, or even put your hand up to do the job of a customer service advocate for a day. Talk directly with customers about what’s working, and what’s not. Listen and respond to reviews online. Don’t be afraid to admit when you’ve got it wrong. And always be focused on improving.
3. Leverage data to understand your customers
Data can be a secret weapon when it comes to understanding your customers’ needs and exceeding their expectations.
Traditionally, sophisticated data analytics were available only to big businesses. Fortunately, that is changing, and we’re seeing more tools available to help SMBs collect and leverage data to support strategic decision-making. A report published by SCORE found that 51% percent of small businesses believe analytics are critical, but only 45% are tracking data. I hope these figures continue to increase, because when harnessed creatively and thoughtfully, data can help you win customers for life.
The right data can equip you to understand your customers’ pain points, deliver on your value proposition, exceed your customers’ expectations, and tailor support for customers. Data can be a powerful predictor of customer trends, patterns, and preferences. It can also help you understand and improve the overall customer support experience.
Finding the right tool(s) for your business to collect, store and analyze data can be tough. Whether you are using surveys, consumer intelligence reporting, website tracking, or CRM software, I suggest looking for integrated software that provides real-time insights, analytical or forecasting capabilities, and that can scale with your business.
Once you have the right tools, collecting and analyzing the data can be overwhelming or disorientating—particularly if you’re working with large data sets. I always find it valuable to clearly define the business questions to which you’re seeking answers before diving into a sea of numbers.
Armed with these insights, don’t forget to empower your whole team with this information. For employees working on the front lines, understanding the drivers and motivations behind customer behavior will help them deliver great customer service, and ultimately turn your customers into super fans.
4. Harness innovation to better support your customers
We’ve all had that one amazing customer service experience. A company that went above and beyond to help make something right for you. Where you’ve had these experiences, chances are you talked about them with friends, wrote positive reviews, and continued to support those companies.
When it comes to customer service, people are increasingly interested in flexibility—some prefer the convenience of a live chat while others prefer the interpersonal connection of a phone call. However you deliver customer support, innovation can help empower your frontline support teams to deliver great service.
Adopting AI-powered chat, for example, can be a game changer for your customer service. Chatbots can help answer customer questions about a product, educate your customers, resolve problems, or even help lead customers through the sales funnel. Importantly, chatbots are also able to deliver friendly, accurate responses to customers due to national language processing capabilities. In a survey, 64% of respondents appreciated the 24-hour service that intelligent chat could provide.
Customer experience can be the difference between success and failure in customer retention. Of course, we need to get the basics right. Long wait times for service or advocates who aren’t properly trained to provide support have the potential to impact customer retention. But innovation is a powerful tool to enhance the customer experience of a strong base. And a great customer experience can help turn your customer into a super fan.
Customer success = business success
Customers know when a company puts them first. To deliver on this promise, build a strong foundation of values, leverage data for success, harness innovation, and listen and learn from customers.
The reward? You’ll have customers for life. And that’s a great thing for your business.
FAQs about turning customers into fans
How can you turn your customers into advocates?
There are four ways you can turn your customers into advocates:
1. Lead with values that serve your customers, 2. Listen and learn from your customers, 3. Leverage data to understand your customers, 4. Harness innovation to better support your customers.
What is an example of customer advocacy?
An example of customer advocacy might be when a satisfied customer talks about the business with friends, writes a positive review, and continues to support that company
What are the benefits of customer advocacy?
Customer success = business success. Customers know when a company puts them first. If you deliver on this promise, build a strong foundation of values, and harness innovation, then you’ll have customers for life.
Source : https://www.weebly.com/
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