Why give importance to customer advocacy

“…thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”, Leviticus 19:18

This Golden Rule of treating others as you would want to be treated in their place will ultimately lead to our own happiness. Customer service and advocacy is one profession that has always been dear to me. Service is my passion. It’s a profession that I can talk about for hours together without getting tired.

It’s a fact that everyone is a customer to someone. Experience in serving customers at least once in a life time will not only teach empathy, courteousness, patience, but also helps in overcoming prejudice and practice compassion. If I am good listener with immense patience, it is because of my customer service experience.

Organizations that don’t practice this Golden Rule of service are inviting doom and gloom. In the wake of recent high profile incidents of customer mistreatment, most notably, the viral video of the airport security officers dragging a passenger off a United Airlines plane in April, commercial airlines are scrambling to regain the trust of their customers (air travelers). But rebuilding that consumer trust will be difficult because the airlines’ harsh conduct in the last few weeks may have inadvertently pushed passengers just too far.

Gone are the days of “one-size-fits-all” contact centers. Customers expect faster responses, personalized service, and increased availability. They want service when and how they need it. Personalized care is now the rule, not the exception. It’s imperative to improve the customer care to create the foundation for strong relationships.

Rapid strides in technology now allow customers to access information on a company and its products from myriad sources, going beyond simple search to customer reviews through blogs and social networking sites, thus achieving unprecedented access and power. Customers are also increasingly shunning the ever growing wave of marketing efforts as telemarketing calls and spam only add to customer angst.

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Customer advocacy is doing what’s best for your customer and truly representing your customer’s interest through a mutual dialogue and partnership. As Professor Urban puts it, just as push / pull marketing was driven by the economics of mass production, and relationship marketing impelled by the saturation of push marketing and intense rivalries, so will customer advocacy become the next imperative because of the accelerating growth of customer power.

As customers become ever more demanding, less tolerant, and more skeptical, advocacy has become the favored strategy as companies seek to deal with the changing power equation. Customer advocacy is being successfully applied by companies across different industries with companies such as Nordstrom and Cisco being able to create high levels of customer engagement. To realize its full potential, companies need to ensure that customer advocacy is an essential component of their corporate culture, such that it encourages employees to be committed to the customer and go beyond in-the-box customer service.

Today customers are looking beyond device-based value propositions and are demanding solution-based value propositions, more proactive thought leadership, increased knowledge transfer, tailored offerings, and consistent quality. As Supriya Biswas has mentioned in her book “Relationship Marketing”, customer advocacy based marketing will enable companies to help customers improve their productivity, reduce operational costs, and get their applications and services to market as quickly as possible.

Who isn’t ready to be bowled away by awesome support. So treat others as you would like to be treated and win admiration!

Please let me know your thoughts about customer advocacy through comments. Thanks for taking time to read this blog.

Regards,
Shilpa

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