Good customer service is something that most companies strive for, but it doesn’t happen without effort or overnight. I think we can all agree we are hoping for quotes like these to be rolling in about our products or services:
“Let’s be real: I bleed purple. Both my favorite color and community, there’s few things in life I love more than Marketo.”
- Kristen Malkovich at New Relic, 2x Champion
Whether your company is B2B or B2C, whether you’re selling marketing automation software to businesses or a fitness app to consumers, you need to be able to make your customers happy and keep them happy. That is why they continue to buy your products and why they recommend you to their friends and hundreds to thousands of followers on their social networks.
As a community manager for almost four years now, trying to make our customers happy is at the forefront of everything I do. I think Marketo has done a good job of using advocacy to drive customer satisfaction over the years.
Here are my tips on how you can increase customer satisfaction through advocacy and more:
Have good products: You may be thinking “duh” or “this isn’t a marketer’s job”, and you’re right. But I mention this first because if you don’t have quality products, then you aren’t going anywhere fast with customer satisfaction. Quality products are where happy customers start, so make sure you believe in and would actually use what your company is selling.
In a recent Champion application Brean Deters, Marketing Analytics Manager at BAI said, “I have been using Marketo extensively for over 3 years and love the product, not only for what it can do now but for the potential and opportunity for what it can evolve to in the future.”
Now, don’t interpret ‘good products’ as ‘perfect’ because we all know that is unattainable. Our CMO always says, “The biggest room in the world is the room for improvement,” which leads to my next point about feedback.
Encourage feedback…and actually listen: It’s one thing to ask your customers for feedback and it’s another to take the time to read that feedback, collect it and put it into action. The former is easy, the ladder takes time, money and thought. I can think of a great example of how we give our customers a voice at Marketo. Our customer ideas section in the Community has contributed over 425 customer ideas that have been put into our product. Our customers provide feedback and each week I sit down with the product team and we respond to each of them, in hopes to eventually catch up!
The most important advice I can give when soliciting customer ideas and feedback is to set expectations and communicate often. On the product side it’s common to be a victim to circumstances well out of our control that changes the timing of a release resulting in a customer let-down. However, I have seen customers get the most frustrated when they feel out of the loop or ignored. It’s not always going to be the answer they want but they will hopefully appreciate the transparency.
Use a barter system (challenge & reward):Create opportunities to challenge your customers online and offline with friendly competition and contests. I’ve seen great success when tapping into people’s inherent desire to compete and win. I can relate because am one of the most competitive people I know! Whether you’re encouraging competition with others or individually…this has helped the Marketo customer marketing team drive engagement and participation across our different programs. The bartering is incentivizing customers with a tangible prize, promotion, or money.
Pick an advocacy platform to help scale: It’s tough to keep track of your advocate programs using excel and outlook, so we recommend you invest in one or more advocate platforms. As you know, Marketo just moved our customer community from Salesforce to JiveX in May to provide a better experience to our growing customer base. We’ve already increased our registered users by 20% from the previous site. But the community has been a key driver of the Marketing Nation’s participation, adoption of Marketo, camaraderie and loyalty since inception in 2010, so just be sure to do your homework and pick a platform that is right for you.
Influitive is another platform we have seen great success with. It is a self-service advocate tool that allows you to integrate advocate marketing with the rest of your marketing organization through fun challenges and rewards. We launched this tool in March and already have 640 advocates involved!
Sell an experience, not just a product: If Facebook is one of the first things you check in the morning when you wake up, you know what FOMO is. You want to create this feeling with your customers. You want them to feel loved, included, and a part of something bigger than just the product or service you are selling them.
The Marketing Nation is where people, technology and ideas converge to help marketers get the fastest speed to results. This concept is of something bigger than our product, you, or I and it has created a sense of community with our customers and our employees that far exceeds the standard vendor / customer relationship.
Also, remind yourself what you’re selling—it’s not just a transaction but should be focused on a feeling, like welcoming someone into your family. At Marketo, our customers are buying a long lasting relationship, and we’ve found it to be mutually beneficial. Our customers know that at any time, day or night, they can log in and connect with members of the Marketing Nation to get help and support. To hear it from the source, watch this video Why Marketo Customers Love our Community.
Incentivize with rewards and cash: There is little that motivates people more than ‘stuff’. Even if it’s as simple as giving away a $5 Starbucks gift card or branded t-shirt…customers will be motivated! And, it’s great for brand recognition to have your customers serve as walking billboards. Obviously the quality and quantity of monetary rewards at your disposal depends on the size of your budget, so if you have a small team, get creative!
Another type of reward I recommend is public recognition. This comes in all shapes, sizes and channels, but some that have made our customers shout from the rooftops (and Twitter) with joy and pride is our Revvie Awards that we announce at our Marketing Nation Summit each year. These awards recognize and celebrate customers and partners who are using Marketo in innovative and exciting ways. If you can find a way to capture quality customer stories while showcasing our customers’ success in front of their peers and in press releases, I’d recommend it.
Building advocacy and customer satisfaction are very rewarding for both parties if you’re doing it right, but it’s also a science that is dependent on a lot of factors…making it a wild ride! I’d love to hear your ideas and stories about what you’re doing at your companies to keep your customers happy and engaged!