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             25 October, 2020
 

    
Category:  Articles » Business » Customer-Service

 

From Loyal Customer to Loyal Advocate

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         Views: 1794
2007-05-30 11:05:50     
Article by Kim Guymon

Recently, I had my carpets cleaned by a new company I had never used before. This is a new company and the owner himself showed up to clean my carpets. It took him 3 hours to do the stairs, hallway, family room, living and dining rooms. But, when he was done, they looked TERRIFIC and I was "sold" on his company.

When we hold a workshop, make a sale from our site, create a custom album, etc. we hope that the customer will come back and buy from us again because they had a good experience. We want loyal customers who appreciate our work. But, loyalty isn't the highest level of satisfaction you can you can achieve from a customer, ADVOCACY is. That's what will help your business grow.

One definition of an ADVOCATE is: To speak, plead, or argue in favor of something. Do your customers do that? When the carpet man left yesterday, I told three neighbors about him and said they'd be THRILLED if they used him. I don't get any perks for this-just the satisfaction of helping a new company with a great service and a fantastic owner grow. As he left the other day, he asked me for a "testimonial" for his site. He's new and needs comments from customers in his area. I agreed that I would email him something (NOTE: He ASKED for it). He also gave me a handful of cards (NOTE: HAND OUT YOUR CARDS!!!). Then he said, "If you see that in a couple of days that it doesn't look right, call me and I'll be glad to come back and get the spots."

I am not just his new customer, I am his new advocate and will tell me neighbors what a great experience I had with his carpet cleaning company. A few weeks later, I got a coupon book in the mail from one of those ad companies and in it was a coupon for this carpet cleaning company and there was my testimonial. He not only asked for it, but he jumped on it and used it.

So, how does a person go from "customer" to "advocate"? Well, first, they fall in love with you through your service and then they keep getting "courted" by you with special treatment. You have to set out to make them your advocate - not in a contrived way, but just by giving them your best efforts to make them happy. Not every customer will become your advocate, but if you pay attention to the loyal ones who keep coming back, you can lead them down the path of advocacy with a few suggestions:

* Give your best customers advance notice of EVERYTHING. If you get new products in, let them know a day ahead and let them know that they are getting SPECIAL ADVANCE NOTICE.
* Give them a perk such as free shipping on a lower dollar amount or 13 custom pages for the price of 12, or an extra embellishment in their kit. Make sure they know that this perk is ONLY for your BEST customers.
* Invite them to offer you input on new products - make them feel special and connected to your business.
* Send them free gifts or samples at unannounced times. Don't just send them a birthday gift, send them a HAPPY SPRING gift or a sample of a new product. Some scrapbook vendors send samples with every order and their customers are surprised and delighted with each order they get. It costs them just pennies but makes a big difference to their customers.
* Give them extra service-offer to wrap a gift, wrap up their custom album before you drop it off. Thank them for being one of your BEST customers.
* Make sure you know who they are. If they are getting your highest level of service, remember that and don't mistakenly drop them off their pedestal or you may pay a price.
* Put a free "thank you" gift in every one of their orders
* upgrade something for them in a custom scrapbook - the album, cardstock, etc.
* offer the special shopping times or hours

How much would all of this cost you vs. how much you would gain?

Surprise and delight your loyal customers with the unexpected perk "for our BEST customers only". Pretty soon, they will not only continue to buy from you, but they will be telling their scrapping friends to buy from you also. That's what turns a customer into your advocate which then keeps them coming back, only instead of coming back on their own, they bring all their friends with them!

Kim Guymon is the founder of ScrapBiz and is considered one of the foremost experts on starting and running a business in the Scrapbook Industry. Since 2001, she has helped hundreds of entrepreneurial scrappers realize their dream of owning a scrapbook business. She has also introduced the wholesale side of the industry to the idea of non-traditional retailers.

Specialized in: From Loyal Customer - Loyal Advocate
URL: http://www.scrapbiz.com
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