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Customer ambassadors at the heart of new acquisition strategies

5 tips to turn your customers into loyal ambassadors

At a time of exponential growth of social networks and other verified opinions, word-of-mouth offers an unprecedented opportunity for virality. The customer ambassador, more legitimate than any advertising, is now at the center of new acquisition and loyalty strategies.

«  78% des européens font confiance aux recommandations de personnes qu’ils connaisssent contre 52% des journalistes et 43% de publicités. » (étude Nielsen*)

"78% of Europeans trust recommendations from people they know versus 52% from journalists and 43% from advertisements." (Nielsen study*)

Faced with increasingly volatile customers, brands rely on these super-customers, who are capable of reversing a trend on social networks, of calming a controversy, of supporting the launch of a new product, of embodying the legitimacy of a brand...

We distinguish 2 types of "natural" ambassadors, i.e. those that you can activate thanks to the fruit of a mastered loyalty strategy (and therefore excluding stars or other influencers who are more like advertising):

1- Your employees:

They are in the best position to talk about your brand, they perfectly master the language keys, and they find themselves (at least we hope so) in your values. Their bias could potentially be questioned, but they remain one of the key elements in the development of your notoriety and your commercial development. Because if they can also be potentially destructive elements of your values when things go wrong (Cf. Target in the US and many others), counting on loyal and committed employees can turn many situations around and it is important to set up a real strategy to engage them without going through the compensation box.

2- Your Customers:

Retaining a customer can be 5 to 10 times cheaper than recruiting a new one. This does not mean that they become a marketing lever. This is what distinguishes the loyal customer from the ambassador customer who must not only be loyal but also and above all committed.

It is obvious that if a customer is won over by your product and your company, he will potentially be a loyal customer and your best advertisement to his friends. But is that enough to qualify him as a customer ambassador? Once a customer, how do you turn him into an ambassador? After acquisition, a new cycle begins: satisfaction, loyalty, commitment, recommendation.

If the strategy is quite different, we will focus in this article not on your employees but on your customers, whether they are satisfied or dissatisfied, and on the means to transform them into ambassadors of your brand.

A quick reminder:

Before being a customer ambassador, your customer is first and foremost a satisfied customer.

He appreciates your products or services but it is mainly the nature of the relationship he has with you that will push him to talk about your brand around him.

The attachment that your customer has to your brand will be proportional to the proximity (or even intimacy) that he has with your brand. This relationship is sufficiently natural, sincere and disinterested for him to spontaneously recommend your brand or your services. This attachment will even push him to take sides against your detractors on social networks or in society.

These notions of proximity and sincerity are the "udders" that must guide your loyalty strategy to transform your customers into true ambassadors of your brand.

We give you our 5 tips to make your customer a true ambassador, and a potentially formidable marketing lever.

Tip #1:

Assert your company's values:

Your values, your vision, your corporate philosophy are your uniqueness and your first loyalty lever.

When Apple displays its "Think different" with or without Einstein's portrait, the brand does not talk about or promote its products, it unites its customers around the idea that being an Apple customer means being different, being in control of your life, creative, cool... Affirming your values in your messages also allows your customers to better appropriate/embody your brand and allows your potential ambassadors to better "deliver" the right messages and better defend you if necessary.

Designerbox Tip:

Take care of your language elements. As we said, the more the relationship between a brand and its customer ambassador will seem "disinterested" and natural, the stronger and more durable it will be. Without falling into familiarity, take care of your language elements by using certain words rather than others, even if it means using a dictionary of synonyms. For example, prefer inclusive and generous words or expressions such as "share", "discover" and "experience" rather than words like "offer" or "gift" which give a mercantile vision of your relationship. And at the risk of shocking some very rare clients, unless you are an old Swiss investment bank, use first names rather than Mr. and Mrs. X, while maintaining the use of the formal form of address, ... again, use common sense to be close to them but respectful.

Tip #2:

Redouble your efforts on your dissatisfied customers

It's hard to imagine that a dissatisfied customer can become the best ambassador. You are not perfect, or if you are, the last mile or a technical problem will ruin all your efforts. Many customers encounter difficulties in their purchasing or order follow-up (transport, delays...) and can often turn into real detractors (or "haters") unless...

A quick and precise management of dissatisfaction is essential. Equip yourself with a social media management tool to listen to what is said about your brand, but above all with a reactive, attentive and educational customer service, quick to respond, apologize and find solutions. Your customer will certainly leave more satisfied than if everything had gone well, and it's one more chance for your brand to be talked about... for the better.

Designerbox Tip:

For "problematic" cases of desperate customers who have become hysterical (20 identical negative comments on your Facebook account for example ;-)), nothing beats direct contact by phone before they become "haters". Behind each bad comment is often a normal person, able to be understanding on the phone and quick to give their address to receive for example a surprise as compensation. Apologize and suggest them "friendly" to be nice and delete their "bad comments".

Tip #3:

Give your customers and ambassadors opportunities to talk about you.

Distrustful of advertising, for 3 out of 5 French people, word-of-mouth is the most reliable source of information (*Nielsen study above). Each of your customer ambassadors is therefore a source of visibility and credibility with their networks, including your prospects. Give them opportunities to talk about you. Encourage your customers to create content around your brand and value them. To do this, don't hesitate to use 2 levers at the same time: gifts or small attentions to remain present in the minds of your ambassador customers and challenges or contests on social networks to animate your larger community of followers.

Are you offering a gift? Like Mobalpa, create a special #hashtag for the occasion, suggesting that they post an image of the gift to share it on their networks. Or imagine contests or challenges like Starbucks launched a contest for its customers to draw on the cup and share their creation on social networks with the #WhiteCupContest (the winner will see his or her cup edited in limited edition). The Hashtag is a good way to gather all the content related to this event and will allow you to select and share on your official account the best. A simple way to enhance your community and encourage them to create content.

Designerbox Tip:

Your customer ambassadors may create content on their own, without any solicitation from you. You should warmly thank them and reward them. By sharing or relaying their content, you encourage other customers to create content around your brand for you to share.

Before relaying their content, ask their permission

1- they will accept because it is part of the social network game

2- it's a way to get in touch with him, and to transform him, too flattered that he will be, into an ultra-faithful ambassador.

Tip #4:

Reward your best customers and ambassadors with thoughtful and preferably...SUSTAINABLE attention

Don't confuse incentives with recognition. Forget your promotional offers, your ambassador customer does not need you to buy one of your products knowing that he is ready to pay the price! The objective of a real loyalty strategy is to grow your ambassador customer community and to stay close to them, on a daily basis, to value them and to pamper them. Thanking a customer for their loyalty or celebrating an important moment in their customer journey is an essential element of loyalty.

The gift you give to your customer must be a way to engage them and give them the opportunity to talk about you, it is your ROI.

75% of customers remember the gift when the attention is personalized & 38% of them like to share it on their social networks.

(KNACK survey study)

This gift should not be considered by him as a simple reward but as a sign of sympathy or consideration on your part (even within the framework of a sponsorship program) so pay attention to the smallest details and this goes far beyond the simple choice of the object.

Think about the experience you are going to offer them, the emotion, the surprise they will have when they receive it. From the choice of the object, to the care given to the packaging, to the personalized note, to the way it will be delivered... Involve yourself and tell yourself that each of these details will contribute to reinforce the link they have with your brand. Give them a standard impersonal, or simply too classic, attention (in short, a somewhat disembodied attention) and not only will they forget that you have offered them, but it could well contribute to deteriorate or lessen the quality of the personal bond they have with you!

Designerbox Tip:

For the choice of the gift, if a bouquet of flowers or a bottle of champagne will always please, think that you will not be there to share this ephemeral but nice moment with your customer! A gift card? Why some people don't activate travel gift cards or other Wonderbox .... Because we don't like to have the choice and we prefer to be surprised, because having the choice kills the magic of the gift.

Therefore, give preference to useful and durable objects to be with your customers on a daily basis and in the long term. Don't forget that an object, if well chosen, is also a concrete way for your customer to talk about you to his friends and on his networks.

Tip #5:

Boost your community with an ambitious sponsorship program.

A classic loyalty program, sponsorship is an implicit way to develop your ambassador customer base (and incidentally to develop your customer portfolio and your sales).

Encouraging your customers to talk about you or recommend your products or services in a very concrete way works well and it would be a shame not to take advantage of it. From the "Tupperware" meeting organized by your super customer ambassador with his friends to the sharing of email addresses online via a simple form, there are many ways to boost your referral program and many ideas to "reward" them without necessarily going through the voucher box (which is complicated anyway if you sell services). Loyalty points or gifts, the rule is the same: keep in mind that it's the attention that counts, the way you address them, it makes you happy to share your values with them and that they share them with their friends!

Designerbox tip:

Instead of sending your sponsorship gift by mail, why not give it to them during a workshop about a new product or service line?

Never hesitate to involve your ambassadors in your strategic reflections, it's a way to make them even more loyal and to collect on your side more than precious information.

As you can see, your potential customer ambassadors must feel special. You have to pamper them, share with them your values and your ambitions in terms of engagement through content and gifts that are embodied, that is to say that show them all the attention you give them and that they will talk about around them.

We don't give out of obligation, giving is a sign of esteem.

In the digital age, be aware that your ambassadors are your best salesmen and your best anti-detractors weapon.

Designerbox accompanies in an original way brands like Mobalpa, or companies like the Caisse d'Épargne to imagine and manage the small attentions intended to retain their customers, at the various moments of their course... if you wish to know more do not hesitate to contact us here.


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