What is Customer Advocacy?
Customer advocacy is an approach to customer service that focuses on building and nurturing relationships with loyal customers with the intent of using them as spokespeople for an organization’s brand.
By putting customer needs first, organizations work to deliver solutions-based assistance through their products and services, constantly looking for new ways to support their customers and ensure they meet their needs.
Types of Customer Advocacy
Customer advocacy relies on a simple principle: customers trust other customers more than marketers. Organizations can capitalize on this fact by harnessing their customers’ voices and experiences, encouraging them to produce content that appeals to fellow consumers.
Types of customer advocacy include but are not limited to:
- Social sharing – As simple as it sounds, sharing a brand’s posts on social media can have a considerable impact. The 2022 Employee Advocacy Benchmark Report even found that having an employee advocacyEmployee advocacy is a marketing technique whereby an organization’s staff act as spokespeople for the brand. Employee advocacy is a marketing technique in which an organization empowers and encourages employees… More program improves a brand’s total social engagement by 25-40%.
- Testimonials – Customer testimonials involve sharing experiences through a statement or quote.
- Case studies – Like testimonials, case studies share a customer success story, but in more detail. Organizations typically use case studies for more complex products or solutions.
- Referrals – Referrals are customers who directly recommend a product or service to their peers.
- Webinars, conferences, and podcasts – Customers quickly grow tired of listening to company staff espousing the benefits of their products at public events or on company media. Inviting a customer to speak at a conference or on a webinar or podcast draws listeners in and imparts content legitimacy.
- Reviews – The most traditional form of customer advocacy, reviews involve customers giving feedback on a product or service.
- Customer advisory boards – Advisory boards are where customers, typically high-level executives at their organizations, come together to share in-depth market insight to help inform a business’s strategies and priorities.
- Forums – Digital community forums are where customers can discuss an organization’s products or services.
Customer Advocacy Framework
Successful customer advocacy initiatives require total organizational commitment and a methodical approach. Organizations looking to implement a customer advocacy program should consider the following framework:
1 .Identify and engage advocates:
- Identify customers who are highly satisfied, loyal, and vocal about their positive experiences.
- Use surveys, customer feedback, and social media monitoring to spot potential advocates.
- Engage with advocates through personalized communication, exclusive events, and loyalty programs.
2. Provide exceptional customer experiences:
- Focus on delivering outstanding products, services, and support that exceed customer expectations.
- Create a seamless customer journey by aligning departments and processes.
- Actively listen to customer feedback, address issues promptly, and continuously improve based on their input.
3. Empower advocates to share their experiences:
- Provide platforms and channels for advocates to share their positive experiences.
- Offer incentives, rewards, or recognition programs to motivate advocates to spread the word.
- Provide training or resources to help advocates effectively communicate the value of your brand.
4. Amplify advocacy through content and social media:
- Create compelling content that showcases customer success stories and testimonials.
- Encourage advocates to share their experiences on social media and review sites.
- Leverage social media monitoring tools to track and engage with customer advocates.
5. Measure and reward advocacy efforts:
- Establish metrics to measure the impact of advocacy on business goals.
- Recognize and reward advocates for their contributions.
- Continuously track and analyze advocacy initiatives to optimize and refine the framework.
The Future of Customer Advocacy
Amidst an enormously saturated marketing landscape in which potential buyers are inundated with targeting advertising around the clock, customer advocacy has emerged as an invaluable way for marketers to provide consumers with trustworthy and captivating marketing content.
The prevalence of customer advocacy is only likely to increase in the years ahead as consumers become increasingly digital-literate and aware of the benefits of customer advocacy. Thousands of new products and services go on the market daily; customer advocacy helps consumers select those with the best value for their organizations.
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