Customer Advocacy is Not What You Think


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The following is a Best of 360Connext post.

If there is one way to create a better customer experience, it’s this:


The term advocate is used a lot when referring to kids in the court system, patients in hospitals, and others who can’t necessarily stand up for themselves. Caretakers are encouraged to advocate for their loved ones – ask questions, probe deeper, be sure you understand the necessary steps to treatment.

But what about customer advocacy?

We’ve seen plenty of unreal examples of when companies did the opposite of advocating. They became antagonists to the very customers they are supposed to serve. It’s easy to think of these big brands as nameless, faceless corporations. But anyone who has worked within the walls of such an organization understands these companies are made up of people, just like anywhere else. So how does stuff like this happen?

customer advocacy

I can only imagine the conversations – something along the line of this:

CEO:  ”We need more money! Money, money, money….grumble…”

Chief Fee Officer: “How about another fee? We can just RENAME the service we’re already providing, tack on a fee, and then watch the money roll in!”

CEO: “Yes! Call in those marketers. Come up with a snazzy name just in case someone actually reads the statement!”

Then the marketers lock themselves in a room, create a fantastically-inaccurate title like“Customer Choice Selection Investment,” then carry on with their lives.

It’s not their fault.

I don’t think people who work in these companies are really awful or simple-minded AT ALL. I believe they are smart people who are asked to do simple-minded things.

And they are never asked to advocate for the customer. They are never asked to step back, think of what actions like this would REALLY do to the customer relationship, or the consequences of those actions. It is never part of the job description.

If someone in the room would ask those questions, we’d live in a better world.

customer advocacy

Shame on them.

Shame on the financial types who never “work the numbers” for what scores of canceled subscriptions, bad PR, and completely negative word-of-mouth could do to the company. Shame on the marketers who never stand up and say “this is BS.” Shame on the C-level for assuming customers aren’t paying attention.

Customers, FINALLY, have a voice. And we’re not afraid to use it. It’s time to advocate inside your company’s walls FIRST. Don’t end up on the list of bad moves.

Photo Credits: Birmingham News Roomwilhei55  via Creative Commons

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jeannie Walters, CCXP
Jeannie Walters is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP,) a charter member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA,) a globally recognized speaker, a LinkedIn Learning and instructor, and a Tedx speaker. She’s a very active writer and blogger, contributing to leading publications from Forbes to Pearson college textbooks. Her mission is “To Create Fewer Ruined Days for Customers.”


  1. When companies are humanistic, proactive, trust-building, inclusive, innovative and obsessive about customer-centricity, one attractive product of this architecture, customer experience, and employee practice is what can be what I’ve termed ‘inside-out advocacy’. This is, essentially, what you’ve described in your blog. When customers, and employees for that matter, are used as little more tnan pawns to drive short-term profit, the result can be a fertile ground for process, employee and customer sabotage:


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