Thursday, 01 February 2018 19:36

How to Turn Trusted Customers into Brand Ambassadors

How many of your current customers do you consider loyal? How many of these loyal customers might be potential brand ambassadors on behalf of your business?

brandambassadorsFrom our experience working in the hardwood lumber industry we find many companies work hard to do all they can to meet the needs of their customers.. Knowing that, one of our goals is to build trusting relationships and instill a sense of loyalty with our customers in a hope that they will evolve into brand ambassadors for us.

From our perspective a brand ambassador is an individual or business who—with or without prodding on our part—delights in sharing their quality experience with others in their network. Obviously, this kind of third-party endorsement can be extremely valuable in terms of boosting brand awareness and encouraging prospective new customers to explore our specific products or services. It is always great to have one of existing suppliers recommend to another sawmill to due business with us or a manufacturer we serve recommend another contact us for white oak or another hardwood.

Of course this is not easy. Is does not happen with every customer either.  But when it does it is special and these are a few tips we have found increase our chances of achieving that goal.

Always provide extraordinary customer service. No one’s going to lobby for your brand if the quality of service you provide is just so-so. Instead, make extraordinary service a key element of your company culture. Not only does going above and beyond serve to delight customers, it can be a key differentiator in any drive to set your business apart from the competition.

Know your customers inside and out. Understanding what your customers want and need is another top priority in the campaign to build brand ambassadors.

Don’t settle for just knowing their names and contact information. Meet with your contacts at these companies and drill down to learn all you can about their current situation, as well as their strategies for future growth. Solicit their feedback on how well you meet their needs and where your efforts might fall short. Armed with this information, you can do a better job of serving them and getting them to spread the word about your industry commitment.

Offer content that sets you apart. At Baillie, we regularly offer business related articles and blog posts to serve our customers’ hardwood lumber needs and provide tools and resources to better run their businesses. High-value content “sets your brand apart as an authority in its industry and earns the loyalty of new and existing customers,” notes reputation management expert Stephen Van Delinder.

How does strong content convert customers into brand advocates? He lists three factors:

  • Customers get value-added content for free (always a crowd-pleaser).
  • Customers frequently share interesting content on their social media platforms, broadening awareness of your brand.
  • Valuable, shared content can result in higher search engine results, another way to boost brand awareness.

Leverage social media. If you’re not doing so already, it’s vitally important to “listen” to what’s going on in your industry on social media. Monitor what people say about your company and engage them in conversation about ongoing issues and opportunities. After identifying likely brand champions based on what they’re posting, reach out to these customers and talk about ways to further enhance your relationship.

Let’s hear some of your thoughts! How do you convert your trusted customers into enthusiastic champions on your behalf?

Tony Cimorelli
Baillie Lumber
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