The Real Reason Savvy CEOs Are So Focused On Customer Advocacy

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Which would you prefer: customer scorn or customer love?

On its face, this is a ridiculous question but if you take a closer look at how a lot of companies approach their customers, it becomes anything but obvious. Many companies, even those that are seemingly successful, struggle with this for any number of reasons.

Undoubtedly, they all want ‘customer love’, but have not made it a strategic priority. Which is odd given our universal proclivity to seek third-party validation for any purchase, whether B2B, B2C, B2E, B2B2E or B2B2C.

On the other hand, many see advocacy and positive word of mouth as the “Holy Grail” of a successful company, and there’s a reason for that. If organized correctly, customer advocates can become a bellwether for the overall health of a brand and a leading indicator of success. This is exactly why business leaders increasingly view customer advocates as strategic assets instead of a “nice-to-have.” They realize “advocacy” and word of mouth are no longer the exclusive domain of marketing but rather the product of an entire customer journey that begins with the sales and is reinforced with implementation, customer success and, of course, the product itself.

To be clear: there is a direct correlation between the level of customer advocacy and the health of the business. This is what savvy CEOs realize and why advocacy has become such a focal area in high growth companies.

Specifically, customer advocates impact the organization in at least four important ways:

  1. Happy customers buy more, and more often. Advocates are five times more valuable than average customers because they spend more on products and purchase more often. (Infographic Journal)
  2. Happy customers share their love. Advocates are 83% more likely to share information. Plus, they are far more believable – 92% of people trust peer recommendation over advertising. (Nielsen)
  3. Happy customers don’t leave. A good relationship with customers can cover for even the biggest of gaffes. And what’s at the heart of every good relationship? Communication. Is the technology not working? Did service screw-up? Open, proactive and transparent lines of communication will help alleviate customer frustration and anxiety, which are the roots of customer flight. The old axiom “under promise and over deliver” (especially in times of crisis) will serve you well. This is the stuff advocates are made of, and advocates are far more loyal than non-advocates (Forrester).
  4. Happy customers improve competitiveness. Customers have a vested interest in helping you improve your product, deliver, develop messaging or anything else that will help you improve competitiveness and be successful. They want their partners to win if for no other reason than people like to pick winners (and to validate their choice to invest in you). Customers have unique insights into trends, product gaps, evolving needs, competitor offerings and other market intelligence that you need to stay competitive, but don’t have internally. Capitalizing on the gift of customer insight and guidance is what creates market separation and sustainable competitive advantage.

The good news is that most companies have a good base to start from. Nearly half of B2B customers are advocates-in-waiting; they just need to be pointed in the right direction. So, the question becomes: what do you do with them, and where do you start? That’s where we come in – let’s talk about how we can help.