As businesses today face intense competition (not to mention an impending recession), they are scrambling for ways to grow and maintain revenues.
While strategies and methods differ, there is a growing consensus that a customer in hand is worth two in the bush. What this means is keeping existing customers happy and encouraging them to expand their subscriptions increasingly prioritized over spending hard-earned, fragile dollars chasing new customers.
Customer success and customer satisfaction are the new must-haves. However, there’s an extra step that can take some of the pressure off and help companies maximize results – Customer Advocacy.
What is Customer Advocacy?
Customer advocacy is a powerful tool that can drive growth and success for your organization. It goes beyond just satisfying customers. It involves turning them into vocal advocates who champion your brand and recommend it to others. However, achieving this level of advocacy requires a thoughtful and strategic approach.
Hacks to Optimize Your Customer Advocacy Program
Here are 10 actionable steps to optimize your customer advocacy program and maximize its impact:
1. Define Goals and Metrics
Without well-defined objectives, it’s challenging to measure progress and determine a customer advocacy program’s success. Metrics like customer retention rate, increased referrals, and enhanced feedback mechanisms are essential for tracking your advocacy efforts. The point is, however, to tailor strategies and efforts toward specific metrics.
For example, if your goal is to increase customer retention by 15% over the next year, you can track this metric monthly and adjust your advocacy strategies accordingly. Your approach might differ if you’re prioritizing referrals, for instance. By having specific targets, you’ll have a roadmap for optimizing your program.
Also, discover the Top 15 SaaS Customer Success KPIs to Track in 2023!
2. Foster Genuine Customer Relationships
Building strong and genuine customer relationships is the foundation of effective advocacy. It’s not who or what you know – it’s how you make your customers feel. When customers feel a personal connection to your brand, they’re more likely to become loyal advocates. This goes beyond transactional interactions and involves understanding their needs, preferences, and pain points.
For instance, consider a small coffee shop that remembers a regular customer’s name and their favorite drink. This simple gesture will likely create a sense of belonging and encourage the customer to recommend the coffee shop to friends and family.
3. Be Data-Driven
Data is a goldmine for optimizing your customer advocacy program. Use data to continually refine and optimize various program elements, from rewards to rules. Experimentation is key to finding the optimal combination for both your customers and your business.
For example, an eCommerce company can analyze customer purchase history to determine which products have the highest advocacy potential. They can then tailor their advocacy program to offer incentives for promoting those specific products.
4. Segment Customers
One-size-fits-all advocacy strategies often fall short. To optimize your program, leverage customer feedback surveys and analytics to create detailed customer personas and profiles. This segmentation enables you to target your advocacy efforts more effectively by being specific about which features and benefits customers will champion.
For instance, a company selling IT hardware can segment customers based on their age, profession, location, and hobbies – all factors which may have some bearing on their preferences. Young professionals living in big cities may be interested in performance, portability, and minimalism, while older customers might prioritize ease of use and durability.
5. Joint Ownership of Product Adoption
Product adoption and customer support should go hand in hand. Ensure that your product and customer success teams collaborate effectively to align both product adoption and support with customer needs and goals. This ensures a seamless customer experience and enhances advocacy.
For example, if a software company releases a new feature, the Product team should work closely with Customer Success to create tutorials and interactive walkthroughs and provide support, making it easier for customers to adopt the new feature. This joint effort enhances customer satisfaction and advocacy.
6. Prioritize Customer Marketing
Shift your marketing team’s focus towards customer marketing, advocacy, and community programs. While acquiring new customers is essential, it’s equally important to drive growth within your existing customer base. Recognize that happy customers can be your most effective marketing channel.
For example, a subscription-based streaming service can create customer-exclusive events and content, rewarding their most loyal customers and encouraging them to share their experiences with friends and family.
7. Unified Sales and Customer Success Teams
Sales and customer success teams should work together cohesively, sharing responsibility for revenue goals and delivering a consistent customer experience. When these teams align their efforts, customers are more likely to feel supported throughout their journey.
For instance, a B2B software company can implement a “customer handoff” process, ensuring that Sales communicates vital customer information to the Customer Success team, ensuring a smooth transition and a better overall customer experience.
8. Encourage Agile Adaptation
In today’s fast-paced business environment, operational excellence involves the ability to adapt swiftly to changes in markets, technologies, and customer preferences. Being agile allows you to adjust your strategies and offerings quickly and accordingly, ensuring your advocacy program remains relevant and effective.
For instance, during the COVID-19 pandemic, many restaurants pivoted to offer takeout and delivery services. Many cinemas launched streaming libraries and offered annual ticket subscriptions. This adaptability allowed them to continue serving customers and maintaining their advocacy base despite challenging circumstances.
9. Incorporate the Customer’s Voice
Capture and consistently display Voice of the Customer (VOC) outputs across your organization. Encourage all departments, from product development to marketing, to interact with customers to gain insights and build a deeper understanding of their journey. Customer feedback is invaluable for optimizing your advocacy program.
For example, an online marketplace can regularly survey its users to understand their needs and pain points. This feedback can lead to improvements in the platform’s user interface, boosting overall user satisfaction and advocacy.
10. Empower Your Customers’ Voices
Finally, empower your customers to become advocates not only for your brand but for themselves as well. Help them build their personal brand and become industry thought leaders and influencers. By doing so, you not only increase their reach but also deepen the lifetime value of your relationship.
For example, a software company can encourage its customers to share their expertise by hosting webinars or writing guest blog posts on industry-related topics. This not only showcases the customer’s knowledge but also indirectly promotes the company’s products or services.
Optimizing customer advocacy within your organization requires a holistic approach, spanning various departments and prioritizing personalization and user segmentation. Remember, one size does not fit all, and a personalized approach to customer advocacy is the key to success.
Fostering enduring relationships, wowing your customers, and transforming them into enthusiastic advocates who not only promote your brand but also contribute to their own growth and influence within their respective industries. By following these 10 actionable steps, you are well on your way to mastering customer advocacy and securing a brighter future for your organization.
How can we help? Join the Revolution!
At this point, you might be wondering, “All this sounds amazing! But how do I get started?” That’s where Upshot.ai comes into the picture.
- Personalization at Scale: With our intelligent customer segmentation and personalization tools, Upshot.ai enables you to create hyper-personalized experiences. It’s like having a one-on-one conversation with each of your customers, no matter how big your audience is.
- User Experience Mastery: Our seamless integration and user-friendly interfaces mean that providing a smooth user experience is no longer a mountainous task. You can design and tweak customer journeys that feel natural, enjoyable, and effortless.
- Gamification Unleashed: Looking to turn engagement into a fun game? Upshot.ai’s gamification tools allow you to design engaging challenges, badges, and rewards that keep customers coming back for more.
- Omnichannel Communication Hub: Be everywhere your customers are with our robust omnichannel communication platform. Keep the conversation flowing seamlessly across platforms, ensuring a consistent and engaging brand voice.
- Onboarding Brilliance: From the first hello to the successful conversion, Upshot.ai’s onboarding tools guide your users through the process with ease and style, all while keeping it personalized and engaging.
- Rewards & Incentives Reinvented: Tailor-made reward systems, easy-to-implement referral programs, and incentives that resonate with your brand – Upshot.ai’s reward and loyalty tools has it all covered.
- Analytics and Insights: Monitor, analyze, and adapt with real-time analytics and insights. Understand what wows your customers and continuously evolve your strategies with Upshot.ai’s powerful analytical tools.
Upshot.ai isn’t just a platform; it’s a partner in your quest to redefine the customer experience. With our comprehensive suite of tools, seasoned expertise, and customer-first approach, we stand with you in your mission to WOW your customers in 2023 and beyond.
Ready to take the plunge? Let’s turn the ordinary into the extraordinary together. Book a demo, and let’s get started! 🚀
Damola is a seasoned Account Manager with diverse experience spanning SaaS, film & TV, and e-commerce. His core strengths lie in cultivating multi-tier relationships, formulating strategic Customer Success plans, and enhancing Customer Engagement with SaaS solutions, all with an unwavering commitment to delivering tangible, long-term value to clients.Follow @upshot_ai