Social CEM: Moving Beyond Customer Loyalty to Customer Advocacy (Part 5)

The Consumer Advocacy Stage

Research shows that while a customer might be temporarily “loyal,” that loyalty

may not necessarily translate into consumer advocacy, the last stage in the new

customer lifecycle. If the customer experience is good, often brand

advocates want to share their customer experience with others.

Brand advocates are built through a series of positive experiences with the

brand. Some social media technology solutions offer the ability to reward true

advocacy when brand advocates exhibit behaviors that affect top line metrics. By

measuring who the most engaged and active advocates are, the brand can make

sure to reward those advocates each time a new campaign begins. Social CEM

technologies can enable a brand advocate to share great experiences online

immediately with a friend or en masse to many friends and followers through

Facebook and Twitter.

 

Over time, various customer interactions can result in the customers seeing

brands as “great” (likely to advocate/promote), “passive” (personally loyal but not

necessarily a promoter), or “negative” (a detractor – likely to defect or complain).

Research shows that if your customers feel they have had a great experience with

your company, they are more likely to re-purchase and even tell others about their

wonderful experience in a quick moment over social media (Figure 9).fig9

Studies from Purdue University also show the direct affect the customer experience

has on branding, customer loyalty and propensity to repurchase:

fig word

One of the big challenges brands have is getting credit for their efforts. Experience

with over 150 brands using Empathica’s GoRecommend™ social media

advocacy solution has found that most brands have a silent majority of potential

brand advocates. What’s required is simply a gentle push or simple ask to convert

their positive sentiments into a powerful marketing message, as well as validation

for a job well done. Making it easy and seamless for customers to go beyond

just providing survey feedback and later “liking” the brand on Facebook, creating

immediate brand advocates can be transformational.

 

Recommendations for Managing the Social Customer Experience

The following sections contain recommendations to drive social customer experience

success. It is important to understand that the very nature of customer experience

is constantly changing because of evolving consumer behavior. With ever changing

market conditions, companies must be nimble and able to constantly tweak their

approach and strategy.

 

1. Get a Deeper Understanding of What Drives Advocacy

As you decide on your customer experience management processes, begin by

looking at whether the people, process and technology enablers you are choosing

are in the best interest of engaging with your best customers as social advocates

(Figure 10).

fig10

Focus on the total customer experience. In good times and bad, there is one

constant – people expect a great experience when they come into your stores

and locations – the people, the product, the facilities, etc. If they don’t get it, they

have a lot of other choices – and their social networks will be more than happy to

point them to your competitors. If you do deliver on a great customer experience,

customers will reward you time and time again through increased visits, higher

spend and they’ll tell their friends. Focus on training and knowledgeable, friendly

staff.

 

Before designing a customer experience map, conduct the appropriate

research to understand customer needs from across all traditional communication

channels, including social media. Examine not only the rational (logical) part

of an experience (e.g. the product comes with a carrying case), but also

the emotional aspects (e.g. the carrying case fits with the lifestyle needs and

“brand” of the buyer).

 

Continue to get to know your customers all over again with a deeper understanding

of their experience through customer journey mapping, and loyalty and advocacy

modeling. This exercise will allow you to map out in detail the customer interaction

journey and the key points where you can enable technology, people and process

to drive customers toward customer advocacy.

 

Finally, analyze the way your customers are served and process map all aspects

of your business, key processes and integrate third party suppliers and partners

that serve your customers. This thorough evaluation of each component of your

business can ensure that the way work gets done always serves the customer.

Drive Focused Actions in Your Locations

As you begin to evaluate your social customer experience program, it is also

important to consider the critical role played by the locations and staff. Take an

honest look at where you are with respect to standard operating procedures and

best practices. If you have mapped out an ideal customer journey, have you also

mapped out and created systematic plans for locations to deliver against it? Have

your front line staff been thoroughly on-boarded and trained to do so?

 

Remember that all locations are NOT created equal. Don’t treat all your locations

the same – each location has its own challenges based on the local clientele,

customers, as well as the skill levels of the people who work there. Instant mobile

and social media consumer interactions are driving geographically dispersed

brands and locations to adopt technology to provide the information necessary

to guide each location to operate in a way that is unique and driven by its local

patrons and local social commentary. This information enables brands to shift

local operations, to take corrective steps in product/service development,

product/service delivery, product/service offers and customer service based upon

local preferences. Technology from solution providers like Empathica can also

automate the sharing of best practices among locations.

Focus on the total

Social CEM: Moving Beyond Customer Loyalty to Customer Advocacy

21

This can be advantageous especially for new managers to get up to speed quickly

by learning from more experienced managers.

 

Following the brand leaders can provide all locations with additional coaching.

Often times other high-performing stores or locations have had similar experiences

or made similar improvements when faced with particular challenges. In a lot of

cases, you can leverage that information and those best practices. You do not

have to reinvent the wheel.

 

Finally – Focus. Focus. Focus. Every employee who is focused on the customer

experience should be given consistent direction. These employees in turn build

your culture and your brand even when you are not there in person to oversee

every interaction. Every interaction point serves to give the customer an opinion

of your brand. Give staff the tools and information they need to focus on the right

interactions for the operation of their store or location.

Make sure to check back in for the final part of this series!

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