How to make your customers your ambassadors

Whether purchasing your products, sampling your services or funding your development, customers play the biggest role in making your business money. Paying them due care and attention throughout their entire customer journey is fundamental to success ? and should not be underestimated. 

Customers can play a fantastic role in the development of your business if they are given right opportunities ? it?s just up to you to provide them. How can you do this?

Elevate your business
Financial incentives are a great way of strengthening a customer?s willingness to recommend your business. 

By offering these incentives within a structured customer referral scheme, a business can not only benefit from broader sales and a widened reputation, but also happier existing customers and better client retention rates.

How to turn your customers into even greater assets
Many businesses are guilty of forgetting just how vital customer word-of-mouth has been in contributing to their success over the years. 

The key thing to remember is that customers are more than just an invoice number and that they hold a great deal of potential when it comes to marketing your business, even if they are largely unaware of it. 

While sales reps are contracted to sell and persuade, customers choose to endorse; in doing so giving their recommendation great credibility and reassurance. By capitalising on their invaluable integrity, a customer can become a huge asset for a business, influencing colleagues and potential customers without the hard sell. 

Why customer focus is the key to success
With businesses investing in advertising and marketing, you might wonder why focusing so heavily on the customer would provide an advantage. Essentially, it all comes down to experience. 

While ad and marketing reps have strategies in place to reach markets and influence consumers, nothing holds as much power as neutral, first-hand experience. A customer recommendation will come from someone who has experienced every level of the business from initial contact, to sales, to end-product.

Ultimately, the foundation of any referral programme is excellent customer service. Every staff member needs to be offering the same level of service from the top down and bottom up. There needs to be a culture in which an engineer or sales rep handles customers in the same manner that the CEO would handle an investor. 

Great customer service leads to a great reputation and can be the key difference between a customer using your services over a competitor?s. 

Neil Armstrong is director of business services at Timico.

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