As a business owner, there are a lot of things you need to focus on to help you bring in new customers to your business. From SEO and content marketing to email marketing, PPC advertising, and more – there are endless ways to go about acquiring customers.
However, these either take a lot of time, such as in the case of SEO, or they require a lot of money for you to see significant results (like PPC).
For small businesses with even smaller budgets, one of the most effective ways to grow your business is by creating die-hard brand advocates who will help you spread the word about your products or services.
According to SmallBizTrends, over 80% of your future profits will result from just 20% of the customers you have right now. This makes it exceedingly clear that you need to focus on enhancing your customer retention levels and increasing brand advocacy.
In this article, we take a look at the different ways surveys can help you create die-hard brand advocates so your business can grow with an engaged audience.
Brands That Listen Will Win
In the online marketing landscape, the brands that listen will always have a competitive edge over those that don’t. One way to show customers that you are listening, and to discover exactly what their needs are, is by using surveys.
With surveys, you will get deeper insights into what your customer base has to say about your business, brand, products, or competitors.
You can use surveys to find out how you can solve their pain points and improve your offering.
Customers love to feel heard and if they see that you are taking action on their suggestions, it makes it more likely that they will stay with you for longer, thus helping you to increase the average lifetime value of each customer.
Your brand advocates represent a microcosm of your business’s customer base. You can survey them using emails, social media service, or survey forms on your website and use the information you gather to help you inform your customer retention strategies.
When using surveys for your business, keep in mind that creating the survey is merely the first step. Getting customers to actually complete the survey can be challenging.
However, you can increase the likelihood of customers completing your surveys by implementing the following best practices:
- Make your survey as simple and easy to complete as possible
- Make the survey engaging enough to keep your customer’s interest
- Use conversational forms with lots of images or emojis
- Add an incentive for completing the survey, such as a discount coupon.
By following these and other best practices for survey use, you will be able to keep up with the constantly changing needs and preferences of your customers.
Use surveys to maintain regular communication with existing customers so you can deliver what they actually value as opposed to what you think your customers need.
Regular surveys will also help you avoid getting left behind whenever there’s a shift in the market.
As an example of something I’ve done myself, I run a YouTube channel that not only generates additional revenue, but also helps me better connect with my followers. At one point, I was getting numerous complaints that I had too many ads in my videos, so I ran a survey to see if everyone felt this way.
Many followers complained there were too many ads, so I adjusted my approach. Now, I never get complaints about too many ads and I’ve found the perfect balance of content and revenue. In fact, by doing this, I’ve been able to make an additional $1000 per month mainly from affiliate income and course sales, and I’m confident that the lack of ads builds more trust.
Not only that, but my audience really appreciates that I listen and love when I adjust my approach after getting their feedback.
Pairing this YouTube channel with my website, One Hour Professor has proved to be extremely valuable in growing my audience.
Bring Customers into the Process
Surveys can be used to engage fans in the creative process of your product or company in order to help them feel like they are a part of something bigger. An example of a brand that has done this successfully is Delta Airlines.
The company offers its “Million Miler Members” a chance to do a short survey to share basic information about which of their services need improvement so they can work on maximizing the value they offer to their customers.
Another company that does this particularly well is Uber.
Aside from immediately responding to customer queries soon after the trip, Uber asks for feedback from customers on the car and the driver. The company assures customers that their opinions matter, and as a result, they get a lot of feedback. And, since very little effort is required thanks to their simple star rating, almost all customers leave feedback.
A lot of companies fail to monitor the needs of their customers.
They don’t know what their customers are saying about them, and they don’t respond to comments on various platforms online.
But, thanks to digital media, every business now has access to simple tools that will help you solicit feedback from customers in a proactive way and bring customers into the process of creating products and building your brand.
I’ve done this in my own business as well. In 2020, I wanted to know about what my followers were in need of and the overwhelming response was that they were looking for online courses to walk them through the process.
Knowing this, I did a lot of research to find an online course platform that fit for my business and launched a new course focused on explaining every step of creating a website from scratch. This was very well received and many of my followers emailed me stating how helpful it was.
Let Customers Steer the Ship
Making changes or improvements in your company based on survey results will help you build trust and affinity with your customers.
Of course, it would be impossible to listen to all your customers’ suggestions – and it’s not even something that we would recommend that you do.
However, you do need to pay attention to what your customers say when there is an overwhelmingly consistent problem that keeps getting mentioned. When customer experience is done right, it can be a major differentiator of your business.
According to a study from the XM Institute, 73% of companies that have great customer experience achieve better financial performance overall compared to others. These companies’ revenue also increases in direct proportion to the level of customer experience, as shown by the study below:
Letting customers steer the ship means that, as a business, you need to have your representatives do the following:
- Engage customers,
- Interact with them at every opportunity,
- Be humble and polite, and
- Respond to queries in a positive way.
Anyone on this front needs to be patient and understanding regardless of how customers react (or how many times they have asked the same question).
Calm responses only lead to positive solutions – particularly when dealing with dissatisfied or angry customers.
In your efforts to let the customers steer the ship, there are a few best practices that you should follow:
Flexible Customer Experience
First, put in place a flexible customer experience process that makes customer satisfaction a companywide obsession. Take an example from Zappos, a company that has experienced phenomenal success in their customer service efforts.
Customer Experience First
Understand that customer experience comes above everything else, and create a support platform that makes it clear to customers that you are always there, ready to help.
Make sure the platform choice is intuitive and easy to use. It should allow you to respond in a quick and effective manner.
Integrate Other Digital Channels
In addition to your primary customer service platform, you also need to create other digital channels to make it more convenient for your customers to get in touch with you with their problems or suggestions and feedback.
For instance, you may have a help desk for all your customer support and service, but you should also have a presence on different social media platforms such as Twitter or Facebook, where you can deal with customer service requests. If necessary, you can then route these to your primary help desk.
Keep Employees in the Know
Ensure that all your employees know your business’s customer experience policies. They should all follow the same procedures to assist customers. This goes for everyone from the CEO to the shop floor advisor.
Take a leaf out of Air Asia’s book. The company has an excellent social presence thanks to the commitment to give quick, honest, and helpful replies to its customers.
Examples from the Field
When it comes to letting customers steer the ship, a company that does this right is Amazon.
The retail giant keeps its customers happy with proactive communication and customer-centric policies. Customers on Amazon feel like they are listened to and that their opinion matters and that’s why they keep going back again and again.
Below are examples of three other companies that have built true brand advocates using the methods listed above.
Zappos is a great example of a brand that has built armies of brand advocates from their customers. Not only are their customers loyal, but they are also avid promoters of the brand, too.
One of the main reasons that the company experienced such massive success over the years is because of their amazing work culture that allows employees to express their opinions. In turn, the employees helped to build an enduring long-term brand that continues to transform ordinary customers into raving fans.
Customers know that Uber prioritizes their safety and well-being and that the company is always actively working on improving its service.
By conducting surveys with both customers and drivers, Uber makes it a lot more likely that they will be able to cater to the needs of the majority of people they do business with.
Air Asia offers round-the-clock support to assist you with your flights. They offer support in multiple languages and on various platforms, including email, a live chat on their website, and Facebook.
These are just a few examples of how customer-centric strategies can help you enhance your customer experience and create die-hard brand advocates.
I hope this article was helpful in showing you how to use surveys to turn customers into eager advocates. Use the tips outlined here to help you transform your customers into loyal fans who will help you spread the word about your business and brand.
Does your brand have any experience using surveys to find out the needs of your customers? Let me know in the comments section below!
About the Author
Ron Stefanski is a marketing professor and online entrepreneur who’s passionate about helping people create and market their own online business. You can learn more from him by visiting OneHourProfessor.com.