Ritu Jhajharia
Ritu Jhajharia 15 June 2016

Customers or Promoters? Stop Asking and Start Acquiring, Now!

For the longest time, businesses have been running around to acquire as many customers as possible. In this unending quest, the customers are left behind once they have been acquired.

This has led to high customer churn and again the chase, making the customer acquisition process a vicious circle. In this connected world today, it’s high time that businesses start converting their existing customers into promoters for their business and drive much more value out of each customer relationship. This article makes a strong case for nurturing existing customer relationships to create an army of promoters.

I’ve always focussed on getting more customers until I realized what I needed was those customers to become my promoters. And it’s so obvious that it’s missed by brands, almost always.


If you’ve landed here, chances are you either run a business of your own, are working towards building one, working for a customer-centric business or are just simply dreaming of launching that uber-cool start-up of yours, sometime soon. Whatever the case may be, you’re standing right at the intersection of a profound paradigm shift that is taking place in the world of business as we have known it so far. Instead of just plain old marketing strategies, you hear things like influencer marketing, Voice of Customer, growth hacking, brand evangelist and what not. Pfff! Whatever you hear, clearly the customer’s opinion seems to be taking the central stage in every strategy. You might not realize it but you’re part of a significant phase in the human history where the realms of the traditional “isms” i.e. capitalism, consumerism etc. are blurring, merging or giving away to a new era of conducting business. 

That sounded like a bucket-load of heavy words? Well, that’s the point here. That’s how we interact with each other when it comes to conducting our business. We make it sound heavy. We suddenly become pseudo-intellectuals. It probably makes us feel like we’re a bunch of important and intelligent people who know how to go about their business. We want to be taken seriously, by our business partners, colleagues, superiors, competitors and our customers. Amidst all of this power struggling and a constant tug-of-war of always making a point, we not just overwhelming but overlooking our customers. And we know that we’re guilty of alienating our customers once the business is done. We end up losing the one person we so much wanted to get on board. We believe that our job is done once we acquired that customer and somehow lured into buying our brand. That’s where we lose the plot. Or as modern marketer would like to say, we’re looking at a customer churn situation. 

We at Promoto work with this central idea of our business that getting a customer on board is not the end of the story, it’s the beginning of it.  We’re in the business of customer centricity.

The story of “customer” so far:

Let’s try to have a look at our customer, the sole reason and force behind our existence as a business. You’re here because you care for the guy or the girl who pays you their hard-earned money. You probably have done a great service to them and they probably are grateful to you for that. But that’s it. It all ends there and both you and your customer go about your lives. A good relationship dies an untimely death. That’s a sad ending to a great story. Don’t you agree?

Why did you let a great customer, you so painfully acquired, go away? Why didn’t you nurture your relationship? Did you spend countless nights and millions of dollars of marketing budget to get these customers so that you let them slip away as soon as you got them?

Do businesses even think about these whys? And if they do, what is it that they do about it?

To put things into perspective, let’s look at some interesting statistics from New Voice in 2015 about why customers switch brands:

  • 53% switch because they feel unappreciated.
  • 42% switch because they are put off by rude or unhelpful staff.
  • 32% switch because they are fed up with speaking to multiple agents.
  • 29% switch because they are annoyed by a lack of staff knowledge.
  • 25% switch because they are tired of being kept on hold.
  • 58% will never use the company again after a negative experience.

What a colossal waste of business opportunity, isn’t it?

Now let me feed you with even more interesting data about the “happy customers” released by Zendesk in 2015:

  • 87% of customers share good experiences with others.
  • 58% of consumers are more likely to tell others about their customer service experiences than they were 5 years ago.
  • 33% of customers share good experiences with 5+ people.

Customer ⬄ Promoter:

Understanding what a “Customer” is to a business, is a no brainer for obvious reasons. The same can’t be said for the concept “Promoter” though. Businesses often think that customers and promoters are two mutually exclusive entities for their brands. They think that promoters have to be different from the customers who actually pay for the brand, consume it and experience it first-hand. That’s where it all goes wrong. Businesses burn millions of dollars of marketing budgets in signing up celebrities or influential personas of the industry to promote their brands. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that this promotional strategy is not important or doesn’t work. It beautifully works for a lot of brands and if it works for you too, well more power to you. What I’m trying to say is the simple thing to look at your customer in a different way. Try to look at your customer as a potential promoter for your brand, one whose endorsement will be the most effective of all channels put together. Let me try to put the concept of a “Promoter” as simply as possible in order to understand if a customer can fit the bill.

One of the literal meanings of the word “Promoter” is defined in the urban dictionary as this: A supporter of a cause of aim. The synonyms for this word are advocate, champion, supporter, backer, upholder, proponent, exponent, protagonist, campaigner; booster etc. You get the drill, right?

How many times have you decided to go or not go for movies based on your friend’s reviews? Did you go to that restaurant where your friend had a horrible experience? Would you visit the hairstylist who ruined your sister’s haircut last time?

When we start observing these extremely simple and personalized experiences from our own life or from the lives of the people surrounding us, the reality hits us. All these people who engaged with a brand and experienced it are powerful enough to impact your business’ bottom-line so profoundly. You might have run the best promotional campaigns with best people, generated a lot of positive buzz and curiosity and also got people lining up for your offering. So far so good. From here, whether those people come back and give you repeat business or send other people flocking to your business completely depends on this simple question – whether you have turned your customers into brand promoters or not!

And if you’re thinking that offering a kickass product or service to your customers will convert them into your promoters naturally, no, that’s not gonna happen. A good offering is only the first piece of this puzzle. I would call it a hygiene factor in the process. Customers need a lot of push and efforts from your side to become Brand Evangelists. We will continue on this journey together as we dig deeper into converting the customers into promoters. Understanding the basic difference and importance is just the first step.

If you still don’t see any problem with the way your customer relationships are being managed, or if you’re still wondering about why you should convert your customers into promoters then stay tuned with us, we’ll make our case with some seemingly obvious yet often over-looked reasons to convert your customers into promoters.

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