Why customer advocacy matters to your growing business

Starbucks sells coffee that costs a couple of dollars.

Apple sells technology that costs hundreds of dollars.

Harley Davidson sells motorcycles that cost thousands of dollars.

Despite their product and pricing differences, there is one thing that is common among all these brands? Guess what?

Their customers are willing to pay a premium price to buy their products. They don’t stop with one purchase but remain loyal customers for a lifetime. Furthermore, they would also recommend their friends to buy the same.

But, isn’t that what influencers do as well? Not exactly. Influencers take an incentive (monetary or non-monetary) in return for publicizing the brand. Loyal customers, on the other hand, do not need any incentives. They do it on their own will.

From a business perspective, this is literally zero-dollar marketing from the customer side that brings in more revenue. Win one customer, serve them well and let them bring more customers through referrals — that seems to be a working formula for swelling the sales coffers.

At the onset, every brand strives to serve its customers in the best manner possible. But, not all of them manage to turn their customers into walking mouthpieces for their brand.

What enables a handful of businesses like Apple, Starbucks, Harley Davidson, etc. to earn the free-of-cost word-of-marketing service of their customers? What is the secret behind this phenomenon?

That secret is called customer advocacy. Customer advocacy is what is enabling these brands to turbo-charge their sales volumes.

What is customer advocacy?

“Customer advocacy is a specialized form of customer service where the customer wants are given top priority. It goes beyond traditional service of treating customers as revenue centers and instead treats them as loyal individuals.”

Customer advocacy begins with creating deep customer relationships. There is a lot of personal contact involved which goes far beyond the virtual personalization as experienced on websites and mobile apps.

It is the personal contact that actually results in great customer experiences. It is the same customer experience that makes Starbucks the favorite coffee shop, Zappos the favorite shoe store, Amazon – the favorite everything store, and so on.

If you looked deeper, customer advocacy is a multi-dimensional concept. No, it is not a fancy term that some think tank conjured up minutes before going on the stage. It is not a business metric with numerals as denominators.

Instead, it is a proven cultural mindset. It has human emotions, experiences, and expectations as the benchmark. It is everything that the business does to ensure customer satisfaction. Even basic things like offering the quickest response to customer support queries matter a lot.

To cite an example, Pirate Studios which runs the largest network of music studios in the world ran into trouble when the businesses started to scale. Their outsourced call center operations hampered customer experience. They switched to call center software and built their own support center which now handles about 5340 calls a month. Their average answer speed has been brought down to a meager 3 seconds. Needless to say, Pirate Studios was able to deliver a personalized customer service that makes their customers happy.

Why does customer advocacy matter?

For any business that wants to see its growth chart-climbing upwards, the customer should be the epicenter of their universe. Satisfied customers become indirect promoters of the business. They help build awareness by spreading the word about the business, refrain from switching to competitors and ultimately help drive more sales.

Word-of-mouth marketing is still huge

Marketers pour millions on campaigns to attract customers. But, sometimes, what is really needed to convince a customer is a word-of-mouth recommendation from a trusted source. That trusted source could be a friend, a family member or a peer at work who has used the product. The personal relationship between both the parties and the trust thereon makes WOMM is a powerful tool to maximize sales.

How does word-of-mouth marketing tie-up with customer advocacy? Be it on social media or through personal interactions, customer advocacy can ensure that the message that spreads through WOMM is positive. Such positive messages can have a multiplier effect on the brand’s positioning in customer minds.

Online reviews can help you grow

According to BrightLocal’s ‘Local Consumer Review Survey 2018’ 86% of consumers read reviews for local businesses before making a purchase decision. Also, review ratings are the biggest driver of clicks in local SERPs.

Loyal customers can be trusted to write positive reviews about your business. They can instill trust in scouting prospects that your business is reliable, trustworthy and worth transacting with. That positive reputation that online reviews can make your brand grow in value. Its absence may not give your business much momentum.

Loyalty pays huge dividends

Fred Reichheld, the American author, and loyalty expert writes in his book, ‘The Loyalty Effect’ that “On average, U.S. corporations now lose half their customers in five years, half their employees in four, and half their investors in less than one. We seem to face a future in which the only business relationships will be opportunistic transactions between virtual strangers”.

Every business inevitably loses some of its customers. But, the ones that stay loyal are the ones that help the business earn profits at lower costs. There is also a Bain study that was done in 2005 that found that it costs five times to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one. And that math seems to be working fine even today.

Loyal customers spare a business from incurring additional customer acquisition costs (CAC). The overheads for customer onboarding, marketing, and post-sales support are also minimal for loyal customers.

In a nutshell

Around the world, both big and small brands are winning customer advocates. They have recognized the value of offering stellar customer service that will customers into walking mouthpieces for the brand. The positive impact of word of mouth marketing is also too large to ignore.

About Freshcaller

Freshcaller is a modern-day call center software for customer support, sales, IT, and HR teams. With Freshcaller’s cloud-based architecture, it brings together the best of legacy features like IVR and advanced capabilities like Smart Escalations, Custom Call Center Analytics to help you set up a state-of-the-art business call center. Freshcaller offers phone numbers in 90+ countries, requires zero phone hardware, and is extremely easy to use.

If you want to find out more about what we do, check out www.freshcaller.com.