By Claudio Ciccarelli, Country Manager at Trustpilot in Italy
A good website? A great product? Whilst both of these things are essential, it’s great customer relationships that are the bedrock of a business that can proudly market its reputation. Factory360 reported that 57% of small businesses say that having a relationship with their consumers is the primary driver of repeat business.
How reputation marketing using customer advocacy can positively impact your performance
Customer advocacy is a customer-focused strategy that can be integrated into a business’s marketing plan, in which companies leverage their most loyal customers as brand ambassadors to build awareness and trust, drive sales, and strengthen customer relationships. Customer Advocacy has recently become very popular, due to today’s intensely competitive world and need for differentiation.
Advocates are more than just loyal customers or repeat buyers – they are the lifeblood of your business. Unlike influencers, who already have an established presence online, customer advocates are your everyday customers, who are much more relatable. Having a customer advocacy strategy can be a game changer for a business that is trying to stand out with their reputation. But how do you transform leads into highly satisfied customers who will happily share their thoughts about your services?
We’ve put together 3 simple steps that will help you build a customer advocacy strategy and acquire new customers thanks to the strong influence advocates have on your audience.
1. Exceeding customer expectations every time
54% of consumers have higher expectations for customer service now than they did just one year ago. Businesses with the highest level of service will know how to identify those expectations and meet them to the customer’s satisfaction. It’s how great companies beat the competition.
A lot of businesses try to get away with just being average. But it’s the ones that put in the extra effort to meet and exceed customer expectations that create raving fans who purchase more often and share their experience with others.
But what do customers expect exactly? Fortunately, their expectations are pretty reasonable. The average customer expects friendly and knowledgeable communication, as well as fast shipping, and a good return policy.
However, to truly create brand advocates and leverage your reputation in your marketing, you have to understand your customers and their needs. The easiest way to exceed your customer expectations is to listen to what they have to say and incorporate that into your business.
2. Understanding your customers: the difference between hearing and listening
Hearing is not the same as listening. Hearing is passive while listening is active. Companies that listen take your customers’ feedback into consideration. Listening is the key to get to know your customers better, understand their needs, and get to the core of their problems. It also helps businesses offer a better service by working on what can be improved until they reach a point where the company exceeds customer expectations every time. Listening shows respect. It’s a secret weapon very few brands have.
Collecting customer feedback will give you all sorts of insights into what your customers want and expect from you: faster delivery, better communication, and a good customer experience. Matching customer feedback with your business’s data will help you get a much clearer picture of the situation, improve your customer experience, and go after the right opportunities. Observing a dip in numbers and receiving negative feedback from your customers could help you understand where your business needs to invest more efforts and what can be improved for future customers.
Listening will show your customers how much you care about them. 76% of consumers say they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them.
Here are 4 great ways to collect feedback from your customers:
- Reaching out directly
- User activity from your analytics
Involving customers in a deeper, more sustainable relationship with your brand will make the difference in turning customers into advocates to help your business stand out among the competitors. Collecting feedback consistently will help you get in the right direction.
3. Letting your customers tell your story
Allowing your customers to share their stories helps them connect with your business and with other potential customers. But why is it so important? While traditional advertising is still a big part of building brand awareness, letting customers promote your brand or products for you can have an amazing impact on your online reputation, and on sales revenue too. It also takes advantage of social media platforms where the majority of your presence can come from customers.
Focusing on building a good reputation, positive reviews, and great customer success stories is key to promoting your online reputation. Your customers’ stamp of approval can mean a lot more than your self-proclaimed excellence. 96% of consumers do not trust ads anymore. People are now seeking third-party validation more than ever when making an online purchase.
Engaging with your happy customers to promote their stories will help you build trusted and long-lasting relationships, improving your customer retention rate, and increasing your revenue over the long term. Good customer relationships will make your customers feel appreciated and encourage them to sing your praises to the rest of the world.
Trustpilot was founded in 2007 with a vision to create an independent currency of trust. A digital platform that brings businesses and consumers together to foster trust and inspire collaboration. We are free to use, open to everybody and built on transparency. Trustpilot hosts reviews to help consumers shop with confidence and deliver rich insights to help businesses improve the experience they offer. The more consumers use our platform and share their own opinions, the richer the insights we offer businesses, and the more opportunities they have to earn the trust of consumers, from all around the world. Over 144 million consumer reviews of businesses and products of over 626,000 domains have been posted on Trustpilot, and those numbers are growing by more than one review per second. Trustpilot has over 840 employees and is headquartered in Copenhagen, with operations in London, Edinburgh, New York, Denver, Melbourne, Berlin, Vilnius, Milan and Amsterdam.