The Value of Brand Advocates (or, My New Love for Trader Joe's)

I have been a loyal customer of Trader Joe’s for many years.  I consistently shop with this retailer because they have good prices, products I enjoy, interesting new products and, for the most part, good quality.

Free Cookies?!!

My wife and I were recently at a Trader Joe’s store in Roswell GA.  Having completed our journey through the aisles, we went to a checkout lane to pay. The young women who served us was very pleasant and extremely engaging. She was also very knowledgeable about the various items that we were purchasing. As she scanned a box of cookies, she mentioned that Trader Joe’s had just launched a new line of Gluten Free Chocolate Chip cookies. My wife and I took an interest in her story as our daughter has issues with gluten and is always looking for alternatives. We mentioned this to the young women, who asked us to give her a moment.

She left the check stand for no more than 30 seconds, then reappeared with a package of the new gluten-free cookies. Opening the package, she invited us to try the product. The cookies were very tasty, just like their other cookies containing regular flour.  We expressed our delight with the product. She then gave us the open package at no charge to give to our daughter.

That was a great customer experience! It was authentic. The associate was engaging, she clearly listened to what we were saying, and she was empowered to respond quickly and effectively to our needs. All of which combined to create a delightful encounter.

That day I went from loyal customer to Brand Advocate.  I can’t begin to count the number of times I’ve told this story to others, and I’m sure I’ve also influenced others to experience Trader Joe’s.

Isn’t that what all brand owners strive for? To build customers’ loyalty and, ultimately, to convert regular shoppers into passionate brand advocates.

Build your own Brand Advocate

The key driver of advocacy is a great customer experience. If you want people to recommend your brand, you have to impress them. And that has to begin with Listening.

In order to gain an understanding of what your customers want, you need to listen to what they say. Listen in as many different ways as possible: at the checkout, on the phone, on your website, on Social Media; and listen even when your customers aren’t talking, by observing when and how they shop, and what their preferences are.

With the visibility into your customers’ experience that you gain through listening well, you will be empowered to engage with them - to build a relationship that leads to a better Customer Experience.  It is our view at S4RB that all of your operational resources, including your suppliers, need to be active participants in this process, because if you are going to successfully empower your suppliers to be the brand champions they have the potential to be, they have to be connected to the conversation.

It’s not rocket science. Listening to your customers and then working with your suppliers in order to give them what they need and want leads to happy customers who will be happy to recommend you to others. This kind of joined-up approach to customer satisfaction is what we like to call a Unified Brand eXperience – or UBX for short.

At Solutions for Retail Brands (S4RB), we have developed a suite of innovative tools that enable you to create your own UBX in a controlled, flexible, and scalable manner:

  • Listen to your customers’ needs and wants by consolidating multi-channel data; and
  • Mobilize all your resources to act as one team towards a common goal

…all with the goal of allowing you to apply learnings from feedback, complaints, and queries to your entire operation, so as to then engage your customers at a deeper level to build loyalty and brand advocacy.

Tags: Customer experience, Supplier engagement

Steven Howell

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