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
Studies from Purdue University also show the direct affect the customer experience
has on branding, customer loyalty and propensity to repurchase:
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
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
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
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!
Click here to watch my videos on Social Media ROI:
Video 1: Building the Business Case for Social Media
Video 2: How to Measure the ROI of Social Media
Video 3: How Social Media Benefits the Whole Company
Dr. Natalie’s Executive Success Acceleration Firm™
Executive Business Strategy Advisor & Social Customer Experience Industry Authority & Consultant
The Doctor Knows Social Media ROI & Our Business Strategies Rx Get Results!
Our Motto? Be Awesome by: Learning, Sharing & Growing!
What we do: We work with companies to deliver increased revenue and decreased costs:
- Executive Leadership Guidance on Strategy and Business Use of Social Media
- Social Media / Business Benchmark Assessments – Tell you what you got/ what you might consider
- Social Media ROI – set-up measurement capabilities and dashboards
- Workshops on Business Strategy: Customer Experience, PR, Marketing, Customer Service & Internal Employee Advocacy
- Instructor MEMES Summer Institutes at UCLA Anderson & UCLA Extension
- Customer Experience / Social Customer Service Excellence Benchmarking Assessments & Advisory
- Software Company Visualized-ROI, Persona-based Solution Selling w/ Targeted USP & Messaging / ebooks, White Papers, Webinars…
- Social Media Training, Organizational Change, Motivation and Goal Setting