Turn Your Early Customers Into Evangelists

Customer Evangelists

Everyone likes to feel like they're part of something, especially something bigger than themselves. This even applies to the relationship between customers and companies.

Surveying customers about their experience with a company as early as possible will keep them engaged and increase the likeliness that they will have a lasting relationship with the company. It'll also ensure that your business knows more about your customers from the get go.

Forrester Consulting writes in its post, " How Engaged Are Your Customers ?" that, "Customer engagement drives clear benefits for organizations that serve both businesses and consumers, such as improving sales and loyalty, exposing valuable leads, and providing better customer insight."

According to the organization, in today's world, where customers want more information, better prices, and less advertising, it's important to engage them in conversation that cultivates "a deep emotional connection with the brand," high levels of active participation, and a long-term relationship."

Customers who are involved on an ongoing basis, it writes, will associate the brand with positive feelings. These feelings will lead to action (either visiting a store or talking about the brand), and they will "interact with their favorite or more useful brands regularly." This level of engagement will foster loyalty, help spread information about the company through word of mouth, and increase sales.

As for a startup, those early customers can make or break your business. An APSense article titled, " 3 Keys to a Successful Startup: Engage-Build-Sell ," states that it is crucial to find influencers as your first customers, that is, people who will "bring other users to your product."

The author says to "Let the communication be focused to reach out to a few, strong followers. Do not spread thin. It's not about spamming a list of email ids; but reaching out with your thoughts so that people who are interested will organically engage with you." He suggests doing this using on and off-line forums and social networking/blogging sites since they are more cost effective.

It is also recommended that startup companies hold informational events and seminars, because it will help build trust between the customer and company. Instead of trying to persuade potential users to buy the product, at this stage, the company should just be informing the people about what they have to offer.

If companies try to sell to customers first thing, that can be a huge turn off.

As stated in the Forrester Consulting article, customers are more skeptical of advertising than ever. They can see through companies and decipher their true motive -- to sell them their products. It's important that a business presents itself as less "phony." They have to prove in those beginning stages that they care about the customers and their opinions and that they are willing to listen and improve upon their products. If a customer sees this, they will be that much more inclined to stick with the company. It proves their voice truly matters.

Survey those early customers today and turn them in to evangelists. Your business depends on it.