Written by Binita Patel
A happy customer is the greatest endorsement any business could ask for. After all, happy customers are likely to say great things about your business, and people trust recommendations from the happy customers they know. Hearing a positive testimony from a friend or family could mean the difference between ‘maybe’ and ‘definitely’ for your next client.
So the big question is: How do we create happy customers who want to proactively endorse our business? Well, it all starts with the customers you already have. Remember, your current customers already know you, like you and trust you. So the key is to leverage these existing relationships to create a self-perpetuating cycle of positive word-of-mouth.
Let’s give them something to talk about. Creating word-of-mouth momentum means giving people a reason to talk about you, your products and your services. In today’s competitive environment, simply meeting your customers’ expectations isn’t enough for them to give you a glowing review. We need to make sure that we’re going above-and-beyond the norm to delight them in an unexpected way. One really good example of this is ‘the client gift.’ In the wedding industry, it’s not uncommon for most vendors to share a token of their appreciation towards the client at the time of signing. This is a great first step in giving clients a reason to talk about you. Here in my studio, we like to go one extra mile and present our clients with a gift about mid-way through the relationship as well. This is a completely unexpected surprise, and really gets couples excited and buzzing about us! Not only do most our clients tell their friends and family about the surprise gift, but many of them will even post about via Twitter or Facebook.
Here are a few more ideas to get your existing clients on the chit-chat bandwagon:
Reward your evangelists. There will always be a small handful of people who cheer for you a little louder than the rest. Yippee! Chances are these people are already your best clients (or even favorite industry vendors that you work really well with). You love them just as much as they love you; and because there’s already a mutual love-love relationship, they are proactively out there spreading the love and selling you to their friends and family. Reward these people! Reward them in a way that they truly feel appreciated for having spread the word. Here in my studio, we often send out boxes of custom chocolates, framed enlargements or gift baskets to our loudest and proudest evangelists. The investment we make in these people pays for itself as they continue to perpetuate positive word-of-mouth and help bring new clients in the door.
Join the conversation. Once you’ve got people talking you up, the key is to acknowledge what’s being said and make sure you keep those conversations going. If conversations are taking place via Facebook or Twitter, it’s really easy to join in by responding with comments or tweets. If people are responding to your blog posts with comments, be prompt in accepting comments and participating in the discussion board. Being part of a genuine two-way dialog will once again show your cheerleaders that you’re truly worth talking about.
Building momentum through word-of-mouth takes time. Tying good, buzz-worthy content into your client satisfaction workflow is a great place to start. Once people have something juicy to talk about, they’ll naturally start talking it up to their friends and family. Remember to always be thankful and appreciative to those who spread the love about you and your business. These people are priceless! As time goes on, the effect of this cycle will start to snowball and really take on momentum. I hope that soon enough, your delighted clients will be singing your praises from the rooftops.
About Binita Patel
Binita Patel is a Boston-based wedding photographer specializing in weddings for fun & stylish couples. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics & Finance, as well as an MBA in Marketing. Binita is passionate about sharing her love for photography and business knowledge with photographers across the country.