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Customer Advocacy is a term which can be confusing in its definition. It is often used to describe two different forms of marketing approaches. One view of Customer Advocacy is as an internal function of a business. Customer advocates within the company provide a specialized sort of customer service. The second use of the term refers to the practice of encouraging customer engagement, towards the goal of leveraging customers as ambassadors for your brand. Both scenarios involve different, yet at times similar tactics to achieve more sales.
Customer advocacy as an internal function is about focusing on the customer and personalizing your approach to generate customer loyalty to your brand. Customer advocates are facilitators who offer quick response and resolution of problems, and take good care of the customer throughout the buying process. CAs will gather customer feedback on the product or service offered, to better understand the customer’s needs. This leads to a greater understanding of your customer base. This in turn enables you to give better customer service, ultimately resulting in more sales.
The other definition refers to engaging customer advocates from amongst your customer base as brand ambassadors. 92 percent of consumers trust recommendations from people they know, according to research by Nielsen. There are many ways in which businesses strive to inspire customer advocacy: the creation of useful content that customers will share, for example. Rewards for engagement can also promote customer interest. Creation of a customer community with user-generated content, encouraging online reviews, and sending out helpful emails designed to be ‘forwarded’ are other tactics used. The goal is to get your customers to engage more and give referrals. Evaluating and understanding the perception of the brand is crucial.
Two thirds of Fortune 500 companies use the “Net Promoter Score” (Bloomberg). NPS measures loyalty, and divides consumers into categories such as Promoters and Detractors. This tool can be useful in implementing and inspiring both sorts of Customer Advocacy. Questions such as “how likely is it that you would recommend us to your friends?” and following up by asking why, can also be used in both approaches. Both methods of Customer Advocacy require you to take good care of your buyers, and to keep customer satisfaction high, leading to increased brand loyalty and more sales.
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