In today’s business landscape where every employee has the responsibility to make their customer happy do organizations need specific Customer Advocates? Well it all depends on how your organization perceives customer advocacy. To put it simply, Customer advocates are cross-functional roles in an organization whose job is to ensure highest level of customer satisfaction.
What is Customer Advocacy?
Customer Advocacy focuses on the customer experience through a series of proactive actions leading to highest levels of customer satisfaction. Customer advocacy is a culture and way of life for organizations which care about enhancing Customer Experience at all interactions and invest in long term relationships. It ensures Customer problems are resolved with passion and zest and organizations focus on what is best for the customer; adding value beyond the stated needs and expectations. It’s about engaging customers continuously, building trust and confidence over a period of time for mutual growth.
Customer Advocacy: Why the Need?
Employees working for organization often have direct or indirect impact on the customer experience and the customer perception. Typically, large organizations are entrepreneurial in nature leading to creation of ‘Silos’. While working with the various company departments, customers are exposed to the organization’s Complexities, gaps and/or inefficiencies. Multiple people invest Redundant efforts working on the same customer issues, often spending too much time Fire-Fighting and not enough time managing Customer Experiences holistically.
Customer Advocacy: What Is It? What Is It Not?
Customer Advocacy is…
• Enabling better customer experience.
• Proactive work by Cross-Functional teams towards enhanced customer experience.
• Listening to Voice of Customer, take appropriate actions and communicate back to the customers.
• Engaging with customer so as to drive Value and Transformation.
• During issues marshal organizational resources to resolve customer concerns & regain confidence.
Customer Advocacy is Not…
• A platform to market and sell the products and services.
• A contact center for Customer.
• Just an escalation resolver.
• About creating panic and unnecessary noise in the organization about customer issues.
• Merely being a negotiator between customer and organization.
What organizations should look for in a Customer Advocate?
It’s important for organizations to have competent advocates if they want customer advocacy to work. Here are some of the traits of a good customer advocate.
• Empathy: It is absolutely essential that your customer advocates are empathetic by nature.
• Good Listeners: They should be patient and good listeners.
• Proactive: Customer advocates should be the ones who set the wheels rolling and prevent any showstoppers.
• Commitment towards customer satisfaction: They should have fire in their belly and drive towards customer service.
• Collaboration: This is most important trait. Customer advocates should be able to talk and work with different stakeholders and take everyone along.
For different organizations the definition of Customer Advocacy and the role of a Customer Advocate might vary but at the core of it is the intent of the organizations to strive for best in class customer experience. It probably does not matter whether an organization has a dedicated team of customer advocates or some of the existing functions play that role as long as someone is out there performing those tasks and activities which keeps customer satisfied and loyal. As someone rightly said “Customer Advocacy is a journey, not a destination.”