In this world of online connectivity and high-tech gadgets, still the best form of marketing is word of mouth. In fact, with the development of online forums, social media and websites dedicated to nothing but reviewing other businesses, word of mouth is becoming more powerful, not less. It’s never been more important to have a good reputation and the best way to build your reputation is through brilliant customer service and products. Here’s a few things to think about in your quest to build your customer base.



Stop trying to satisfy your customers


Think about it, a satisfied customer is simply one who has had their expectations met. That’s all well and good, but nobody raves about customer service that meets their expectations, they rave about customer service that exceeds their expectations. That’s why measuring customer satisfaction doesn’t work. The world’s leading brands have given up on it. It’s why you don’t receive those annoying surveys asking you to rate your satisfaction between 1 and 5 anymore. Now they focus on customer advocacy. What’s the difference? I’m glad you asked.


Customer advocacy measures how likely a person is to recommend your products and services to a friend. That is, based on the service they’ve received, how likely are they to become your advocate in the marketplace? It’s a much more important measure than satisfaction because it tells you how your company is being spoken about when you’re not listening.


If you can turn a customer into an advocate, then you’ve created a living, breathing advert for yourself who will do your marketing for you… for free!



9/10 or Higher


To measure customer advocacy you may still need to ask your customer for feedback, but don’t ask if your customers are satisfied, ask how likely they are to recommend your business to a friend. Generally, unless a customer is willing to rate your service at 9/10 or higher, they are not going to talk positively about you. You might be thinking that 8/10 service is still pretty good, surely a business should be happy with that, but the truth is it’s not good, it’s average. Customers expect 8/10. They don’t complain when they receive it, but they don’t crow about it either.



Go the Extra Mile


To wow your customers you have to put in the hard work. Provide more than you promised, and definitely provide more than your competitors.


My local mechanic is the perfect example. Several years ago I dragged my little bomb of a car into his workshop and he fixed it up, quite cheaply. Turns out one of the belts needed replacing. Six months later I wheeled the car back to his workshop, the belt had snapped again. This time he fixed it for free, replacing the faulty belt at his own cost. I’ve got to be honest, I wasn’t expecting that. The belt was out of warranty, and it’s snapping wasn’t his fault, but he fixed it for free anyway.


The end result? I’m his biggest advocate and I’ve recommended his services to dozens of people since, many of whom now use him as their regular mechanic. That’s what going the extra mile looks like.


It doesn’t matter what your business is, there are little things you can do to create advocates. Rack your brain, I’m sure you’ll think of something.

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