There’s quite a difference between a customer and a brand advocate. While both deserve your company’s attention, a brand advocate is always what you should ultimately be seeking to cultivate in those who use your products. How do I know what turns a customer into a brand advocate? Well, quite simply I went through the experience myself with Buffer. Now, I do want to state that I am in no way affiliated with Buffer at the time of this post, I receive no compensation from them of any sort (in fact I pay them for their product!) and they have not contacted me to write this at all. This is just my thoughts on the process using them, and my personal experiences, as an example. Here’s how Buffer converted me from a paying customer to a brand advocate.
When I first began using Buffer it was because I wanted to work for them. I had read a few articles on their product and it seemed solid and something there is a market for. I had also reviewed their company values and felt they reflected my own. By thoroughly listing out their brand’s philosophy, I began to see their brand’s personality. Another way in which Buffer allows their brand personality to show is by having their team sign all their customer service tweets on the Buffer account. This personalizes the interaction and made me interested in who these people were outside their roles representing Buffer.
I mainly use Twitter when I have a question for the folks at Buffer, whether it be to get help with an issue I’m experiencing or to make a suggestion for future features. The responses from the Buffer team has always been quick, cheerful, and most importantly, helpful! The kind attitude and fast thinking that the members of Buffer show is exactly how customer service teams should try to operate, especially if they’re using social media to address customer issues or comments. I have never had an issue go unsolved or a comment go unanswered over the last six months I’ve been using Buffer. Carolyn and Colin even worked together to follow up on an issue I’d reported and didn’t expect further communication on! When your customer service team goes beyond the expectations of those you’re serving, you company is doing something right!
The last key component that transformed me from simply a customer to a brand advocate for Buffer was their product. The app itself is very slick and has an easy to use interface. I had previously been using HootSuite and found Buffer to be much more intuitive for me. The browser extension is also simple for me to use and is something that is part of my daily routine. Having an exceptional product is important to starting a company, but having exceptional people supporting it is what keeps it going and earns customer loyalty.
So what have I done for Buffer as a brand advocate? I have transitioned from a free user to a paying customer, raved about the app to friends and family, recommended it as a content management system to small businesses, blogged about it several times on multiple platforms, and feel very connected to the brand. That level of connection, engagement, and excitement about your product isn’t something you can buy, it has to be built and Buffer certainly has mastered that.
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Originally published at Medium.