Turning customers into brand advocates

7 February 2019

Key points

  • Celebrate your clients’ milestones and achievements to build loyalty
  • Go above and beyond to give your customers something to talk about
  • Listen to your customers, ask questions and build commonality.

Don’t expect your customers to be advocates for you, if you’re not an advocate for them. That’s the key message from marketing consultant, Amanda Stevens, at a recent Bankwest Connect Event.

Speaking to a group of more than 200 business owners, Ms Stevens said one of the simplest ways to turn customers into advocates was by recognising their achievements.

This could be as simple as sending clients a hand-written letter or small gift celebrating their milestones, such as an anniversary, securing a large contract or moving offices.

“Milestone marketing – this is something that can transform your business and lock down loyalty,” she said.

“Find a milestone and recognise it, and watch what happens with your dormant referrals. They will come to the surface and you will get more referral business."

Turning Customers into Advocates with Amanda Stevens - Connect Event Highlights

1. Give your customers something to talk about

Ms Stevens explained that 'milestone marketing' helps increase loyalty among existing customers while also turning them into advocates.

She used the example of a chauffeur she regularly uses who surprised her with a bottle of Champagne after working together for 10 years.

“For the purposes of this story, let’s assume that he is the best driver in the world,” she said. “That, rightly or wrongly, is not reason for me to talk about him at a dinner party.”

However, she said the bottle of Champagne gave her something to talk about with her friends, instantly turning her from a customer into an advocate.

Ms Stevens said anyone can utilise milestone marketing and recommended starting with the top 20% of a business’ clients.

2. Ask questions and listen

Ms Stevens (pictured) said at the heart of every business owners’ existence was the need to solve problems for their customers.

However, she warned business owners against solving customer problems at the expense of listening to their needs.

“It’s often the questions we ask that are more important than the answers we give.”

“We all want to come up with the perfect solution for our customers but sometimes we can focus on those solutions too quickly and we actually miss out on the opportunity to take a step back and ask more questions,” she said.

“When we ask more questions of our customers, we get a richer picture of who they are and what they’re all about – we can ultimately serve them better.”

3. Building commonality through listening

Asking more questions also enables business owners to build commonality with clients, according to Ms Stevens.

“Commonality is what drives us as human beings,” she said.

“We gravitate to people, brands and places that we have something in common with because it makes us feel what? Safe.”

“You want customers to feel safe doing business with you, physically and emotionally. You want them to feel safe to entrust their friends and family to you.

“So asking more questions and building those points of commonality is how we do that.”

The information contained in this article is of a general nature and is not intended to be nor should it be considered as professional advice. You should not act on the basis of anything contained in this article without first obtaining specific professional advice. Also to the extent permitted by law, Bankwest, a division of Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124 AFSL / Australian credit licence 234945, its related bodies corporate, employees and contractors accept no liability or responsibility to any persons for any loss which may be incurred or suffered as a result of acting on or refraining from acting as a result of anything contained in this article.