Customer Advocacy Program - how to get started

Customer Intelligence 7 min read

The term customer advocacy should make your ears perk up. These are the people who will become the pillars of your brand - the ones who spend the most money, bring in more customers, and shout your name from the rooftops.

Let’s discuss the importance of customer advocacy and why you must get on board, or else risk weakening the bedrock of your business.

If you are still unsure about whether your customers are, at this point, with your product or with your business relationship, let me phrase it this way: It’s all about the fact that your customer is selling for you.

Gaining customer advocates will not happen overnight. And it’s not easy to achieve either, especially if your solution is still being developed.

Nonetheless, there are things you can do to increase the odds of turning a customer into a life-long customer advocate for your business. Here are 4 things you need to know when it comes to customer advocacy.

Data and Customer Advocacy

To create a robust customer advocacy plan, you’ll want to leverage the marketing data you have about your customers and continue to collect more about their interactions and engagement. You probably already have buyer personas and a customer journey map. These are two important elements that can help you understand your customers and deliver programs that matter to them.

Planning is excellent, but the execution is where the magic happens. Your strategy should include proper planning and deployment of the necessary tactics in each of the engagement focus areas. Engagement is a part of your marketing strategy, which activates Customer Advocates to help educate potential customers about your company.

Learn what customer advocacy is and why your customers are not your advocates. Start by implementing these five quick tips:

  1. Listen to your customers. Listening to your customers’ issues, concerns, pain points and capturing your customer feedback is key to building a great customer experience and relationship with your customers.
  2. Convey the value of your company by using social media. Social media is the hub of your customers' journey and the place for them to socialize and network. Always make an effort to build meaningful connections on social media.
  3. Get feedback. Utilize surveys and touch points to hear from your customers about potential areas of opportunity.
  4. Follow up regularly. There is a way for customers to remain entertained and continually enjoy their experience with your company.
  5. Give customers a personalized experience. The more you can create a VIP experience the better.

Segment your customers

Unfortunately, many brands (around 80%) don’t have any kind of a customer advocate or brand advocate strategy. Worse yet, more than half of these companies don’t know how to identify their brand advocates. As an eCommerce retailer, you have a wealth of customer information at your fingertips. Not only do you have sales records showing things like purchase volume and frequency, you also can tap into your social metrics and brand mentions to find the customers already talking about your brand. Use the data you have to identify your happiest, most loyal customers—those most likely to jump onboard a brand advocacy program. Take the time to reach out and discover what they love about your brand (and products) so you can identify what you’re doing right. Don’t ignore the poor-performing customers; segmentation gives you the opportunity to reach out to those customers (including those you’ve lost or are in danger of losing) to find out what you can do better to improve their experience.

Product Onboarding Matters

As digital experiences continue to shape our lives (and in some cases completely replace traditional procedures), we become more accustomed to a certain expectation of what the look and feel of “being online” or “operating software” should be like.

In fact, 50% of the world is already online, which is astounding to think about, given that the online world only took its modern form around the 1990s.

This means that almost half of the earth’s population understands:

  1. What technology is
  2. What technology does

If we took everyone who has access to the internet right now and made them use Netscape on a Windows 95 machine, you can imagine there would be some frustration.

This is because we are all accustomed to a certain standard of technology, and while it is possible to go back, nobody would want to.

That’s the whole point about technology. It’s innovative, pragmatic, automated, and focused on improving and enhancing the future of the human experience.

Measurement of Customer Advocacy

Customer advocacy can bring a host of benefits to your brand. It’s a differentiator and accelerator. It should incite customer enthusiasm and drive support of your brand. But how will you know if your VoC program is working or not? Like any other marketing initiative, it must be measured. Here are some critical metrics to track:

Measure the volume and quality of online reviews

Online reviews are vital to your brand: about 84% of customers look at online reviews before even talking to a sales rep. It’s probably a high priority for your brand, as you know there’s ROI in this. But you are dependent on customers to leave those reviews.

You can reach out to customers in a variety of ways to ask for reviews: email, social media and even a direct mail piece. You should track how customers left you reviews, so you know which channel is most effective. Get in a habit of looking at what types of customers leave reviews and what made their experience “special.” Try to replicate that with each customer.

Social media interaction

To have a strong customer advocacy program, it’s going to involve social media campaigns that are customer-focused. The more you can get your customers to interact with you on social media, the better. They can then become your brand advocates when they share your content or leave comments on posts.

You’ll want to look at metrics like amplification rate (ratio of shares and total followers) and applause rate (ratio of likes and total followers). Also, continue to track the customer’s journey as they become more involved with your social media posts.

Long-term value

Customer advocacy is a long game, building loyalty and customers for life. Because of this, you’ll want to track the long-term value of your advocates. Consider developing a dashboard to track the revenue of that customer and if applicable, how they have contributed to other revenue with referrals and recommendations.

Customer Experience Drives Customer Advocacy

Customer Experience (CX) is the new brand. Yes, it has been proven that an investment in the customer experience is a good investment – CX is more than just another buzzword that loses its novelty as soon as it is the next quarter.

CX is a business strategy that reaches target customers from both a pre-sales and post-sales perspective. A true CX strategy addresses the customer from every single touch within the customer journey and does not leave any room for misinterpretation.

If you want to have a customer experience-driven product, it means that you are willing to adapt new measures to go beyond the business needs and put customer needs first.

This is one of the most important steps when developing a customer-centric business model.

But while most businesses understand the importance of the customer experience, they lack the insights or the ability to deliver the kind of outcomes that the customer expects.

Customers want fresh approaches that are tailored to their specific needs and will not settle for less. In fact, solely providing what you said you would provide with your product or service is not enough anymore. The customer has already seen what your product can do and most likely also what your competitor can do.

This means that they expect you to deliver something beyond their expectations if you want to make a lasting impression. And that’s a tall order!

All of the above mentioned Tips are designed to align your team to deliver an outstanding customer experience during the buying process and beyond. In order to create a best in class handoff process you do need the right data at the right time. With you will have all necessary informations at your fingertips to speed up the important transitions during the customer lifecycle.

Get in contact with us and start sharing valuable customer journey insights across different departments to enable an aligned and consistent customer experience, while still keeping granular control over what's being shared.