If you’ve been lead to believe that social media marketing and other channels are THE way to grow your business or nonprofit, then you’d be incorrect. And, there’s another study to prove it.
The Boston Consulting Group Brand Advocacy Index (BAI) tells us what really matters is what people say—their word-of-mouth recommendations.
“Direct word-of-mouth recommendations from friends and family are by far the most important source of information for customers thinking about buying a product or service.”
In fact, what we call brand advocacy is about four or five times more influential than traditional and social media in making purchases.
The power of the people
The nice part about brand advocacy is that you don’t need tons of money to achieve it. Yay! All you have to do is give your customers the most amazing brand experiences and they will talk!
Related Article: 8 Ways to Grow Positive Word-of-Mouth About Your Business
“People who have excellent customer experiences become strong advocates for a brand, spend significantly more, and are much more loyal than customers who have poor experiences.”
The study gives us four aspects of the customer experience that have an impact on brand advocacy:
- Value for money
- Customer service
- Product satisfaction
- Emotional connection
15 Ways to Achieve Customer Experience Nirvana:
Adapted from my new book, Beyond Your Logo: 7 Brand Ideas That Matter Most For Small Business Success:
- Know your customers. Listen to them, their personal stories, desires, preferences, and complaints.
- Be open and honest with customers. They’ll respect you and you’ll begin to gain their confidence.
- Foster a culture of cohesion, collaboration, internal communication, and teamwork. Maintaining silos of competing departments and egos can be extremely detrimental.
- Communicate and engage regularly with customers to build brand loyalty and get more word-of-mouth referrals.
- Quickly respond to inquiries and complaints and resolve them as soon as possible.
- Maintain a positive attitude at work will make a big difference in your customers’ brand experiences.
- Be friendly and nice; answer questions; demonstrate humility, empathy, patience, and flexibility; and relate to customers as human beings.
- Be proactive and anticipate customer needs, helping them avoid unwanted problems or added costs of which they may not even be aware.
- Be consistent and provide the same brand experiences with every interaction.
- Go the extra mile. People remember exceptional service and can retell amazing customer service stories years after they happened.
- Keep your company’s promises to represent its word and brand reputation.
- Foster diversity, inside and out, with an attitude of openness and equality, both of which contribute to a customer-centric brand reputation.
- Show appreciation to your customers, employees, suppliers, and others who contribute to your operations.
- Advise, don’t sell to gain their trust and retain them longer.
- Develop clear-cut, customer-centric standards that all employees believe in and follow consistently.
Got any more to add?