How SMART Wins The Hearts Of Its Customers—And More Mind Share As A Result

Truman Tang

_-55Corporate training and IT solutions professionals are constantly grappling with implementing new technologies their companies need to be efficient (and getting their less tech-savvy co-workers to adopt new tools quickly and easily). Plus, they don’t get a lot of thanks and praise for their efforts.

SMART Technologies, creator of easy-to-use interactive displays and integrated solutions that are crucial to meeting rooms around the world, saw their customers’ pain points as an opportunity to drive brand loyalty and awareness.

That’s why they created SMART Collaboration Champions, an advocate marketing program designed to make its customers feel empowered and special. In the exclusive community, customers receive helpful educational tips, fun challenges and networking opportunities. They’re also rewarded if they take time to help SMART, such as by referring peers, being interviewed for blogs, acting as references, and more. As a result, the program has turned SMART’s customers into vocal advocates for the brand and it has generated referral revenue for SMART.

Jose_Halupa

But what exactly makes these tech-savvy folks engage with a program like SMART Collaboration Champions? We asked SMART Collaboration Champions member Jose Halupa, Manager, training developer and evangelist at Cineplex, to explain why he loves being an advocate.

To learn why professionals across industries are driven to advocate, check out our eBook series on engaging advocate personas.

1. The educational challenges are useful and fun

Jose likes that the advocate challenges provide bite-sized learning modules and how-to tips that he can relay back to different people in his organization via training sessions.

“If I didn’t participate in the advocate program, I would have no idea about some of the SMART product features,” he says. “It’s also fun when they throw in a brain teaser.” By mixing education and fun, the SMART team has made Jose a happier, more successful trainer.

2. It’s rewarding and user-friendly

Jose likes that the platform is really easy to use, and that he can earn rewards from interacting with content he can learn from. For every challenge he completes Jose earns points that he can use to redeem rewards through the program. “The Starbucks gift card rewards are nice because I can treat my colleagues to coffee.”

Jose participates in the SMART Collaboration Champions program once or twice a week on average. “I’m driven to visit more when there’s a reward I want to achieve within a certain timeframe,” he explains.

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3. It brings him closer to the SMART team

Jose was enticed to join the SMART Collaboration Champions advocate program because he got an invitation directly from Jessica (the program administrator). “In it, the messaging talked about learning more about training and becoming even better than the support people here! It made sense and sounded good to me,” he says.

Now that he’s been a part of the program for a while, he likes that the SMART team is approachable and open. “They’re very quick to get back to you and provide support,” he explains. “It makes me feel a little bit closer to them—even though we’re in Toronto, and they’re in Calgary.”

_-59How to engage corporate trainers & IT solutions professionals

If you want to turn your tech-savvy customers into raving brand fans, you first need to help them help the people they serve. Then, you need to make them feel appreciated.

Here are a few ideas on how to get started:

The trainer becomes the student.

      Trainers/IT solutions folks focus on catering to the needs and success of the people within their organization. So, the more knowledgeable they are about the products and skills they have to teach, the better. Consider offering educational challenges that will help them to share new tips, tricks and tools with their coworkers.

Reward them with value. This group relies heavily on the tools and software they use to make things run effectively at their companies. So, if you reward them with product upgrades and additional software licenses, they will be motivated to return the favour through acts of advocacy (like writing reviews, submitting testimonials or providing case studies). Plus, if they are using the latest products from your business, they will be more equipped to explain the key benefits to their colleagues.

Facilitate introductions to peers. Since this group spends so much time helping others excel and troubleshooting tech issues, they have limited hours left during the workweek to meet like-minded peers. However, this group of professionals likes connecting with other professionals in their field. If you can create a space where they can share ideas and best practices, they’ll be very appreciative.

Engaging IT Advocates
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