Every customer should be considered your salesperson. You want them to come back and buy again and again of their own freewill. You need to see them as your ambassadors, telling others how good you are and becoming part of your marketing machine.
The active ones will be taking the initiative in telling others while the passive ones will refer you when asked for a recommendation. So the key question is – what does it take to turn a customer into your unpaid salesperson?
The first requirement is obvious: They need to have a satisfactory customer experience with you. Very satisfactory is even better. But unless their first or last experience with you is satisfactory, you can hardly expect them to buy again or recommend you.
If you always keep in mind that your current customer is your future salesperson, you can see why the entire customer experience is important. It is not the objective of marketing to just get the sale.
A significant part of the customer experience only commences once the sale has been made. They still have to use the product or consume the service and possibly use various forms of post-sale support.
Will they think of you as a supplier when they are next faced with the same need?
What will their attitude be to you some time long after their last purchase? In fact, think long term. What would they say about you three, six or 18 months after the purchase?
Next, it would be to your advantage for them to have some level of engagement with you to keep their experience alive and to keep reminding them of who you are and what you do.
Not every customer will want to be kept informed or involved, but many will appreciate the contact. If the engagement level brings additional value to the customer, all the better.
We sometimes undervalue the importance of an ongoing relationship with the customer. But if you recall the characteristics of switching cost and satisficing, you can see how these play well into retaining the support of the customer.
The customer who feels valued will have a very different view of the vendor than one who is ignored. The customer who feels the vendor understands their requirements is much less likely to search for an alternative, even where competitors offer additional benefits.
There are many forms of engagement. I’ll look at a number of common ones over the next few articles, but this should not limit your imagination or the specific activities which have been shown to work successfully for you in the past.