Customer advocacy has become kind of a hot button and all the cool kids are doing it. Maybe you are and maybe you’re not, but if you’re a business leader you’re probably thinking, “That’s all great, but what does it get us?” And that’s exactly the right question to ask because we're entering 2020 and we can and must measure everything to tie it as closely as possible to real business outcomes.
I won’t outline in this post all of the terrific reasons to embrace and sustain a formal customer advocacy program (but you really should!). What I will say is that if you want to grow like Amazon, Netflix and AirBnB, you need to move the customer to the center of your world and organize around them. That means really listening, communicating, supporting and incentivizing the right behaviors. And, it means operationalizing customer advocacy so that it leads to measurable business outcomes. Fast growing companies harness customer advocates because they know that to compete effectively in today’s landscape it’s just good business.
The challenge is that many companies think of customer advocacy as a narrow tactical activity rather than a strategic initiative. They think of it as an online community, social media sharing, or case studies or references. And while those are part of it, they are merely a link in a chain that starts with listening and ends with revenue growth. The question is: how do you connect those links together?
When we went looking for a solution, we found nothing that talked about how to measure and track the real impact of a smart advocacy program. So, we created the Customer Advocacy Index™ to track various advocacy activities and measure their impact on business. The Index tracks about 15 metrics that tie customer advocacy to business outcomes, including:
As the Index evolves more data will become available from which industry and market benchmarks can be drawn. Until then, the Customer Advisory Index is a good tool for companies to set a baseline and track the tangible business impact over time of the customer advocacy efforts.
In the meantime, we’d love to hear your feedback and thoughts…