What is customer advocacy?
Customer advocacy is the process of engaging customers to actively promote your business’s brand, products, and services. It includes working with customers to create positive word-of-mouth and referral marketing. It is typically achieved through a good customer experience with your company, loyalty programs, feedback surveys, and customer success stories.
Why does creating customer advocates matter?
Your business needs outstanding reviews, references, and referrals to bring in new business. And you can’t have these compelling, trusted word-of-mouth sources without building customer advocates. Customer advocates help promote your business as well as provide feedback about your product and service. Advocates are genuinely invested in your product and their candid advice is central to driving product enhancements that bring practical value.
How do you create customer advocates?
- Identify your existing customer advocates and provide convenient ways for them to share their positive experiences. You can find customer advocates using health scores and setting up a systematic approach to receiving ongoing feedback.
- Develop advocates from your customer base by providing consistent and exceptional service. Make sure every customer is informed of their escalation path should expectations be misaligned or issues arise.
- Create a plan to build evangelists from your detractors. Keep a close eye on those customers who’ve had a negative experience with your product or services. Reach out regularly to learn what more you can be doing to set their experience right. Talk with your support team. They will know exactly what has been going on with your customers.
- Reward your customers’ advocacy. Create an incentive plan for your customers who provide testimonials, case studies, referrals, reviews, and actively support your business
Common mistakes preventing you from building customer advocates
- Only identifying advocates through public sources like third-party review sites. Consider asking your team who their happiest customers or using other data points like customer tenure or accounts with mild but consistent expansion.
- Forgetting to thank your customers for their advocacy. Identifying your advocates is step one. But it’s even more important to create a system to thank them for their support so they continue to be your advocates. You can start small by providing incentives for referrals (SWAG, gift cards, customer spotlight articles) or go big with a renewal or add-on discount. Whatever avenue you take, make sure your advocates are extremely aware of how much you appreciate them.
- Focusing entirely on your vocal advocates and ignoring your passives and detractors. Your biggest evangelist can come from the most unintuitive of places: your detractors. It’s easy to ignore customers who haven’t had a perfect experience with you. But the most appealing story to any customer or prospect is one of redemption. Initially something goes wrong but you find a way to turn the situation around and provide value. Pay attention to your former detractors and cultivate an advocate out of them. Create a plan to turn current detractors into your future evangelists.