Thought Leadership + Practical Advice

Customer advocacy: The ‘f’ word + the crystal ball for your business

This article contains an unedited excerpt from our new book, Leading the Customer-led Revolution, due out on 24 May. We hope you enjoy it!

Let's Talk About The ‘F’ Word...

It’s always great to open a workshop or keynote event saying that you’re going to talk about the f word. People always look a little shocked. But we’re not talking about THAT f word, people! We’re talking about ‘feelings’ – that emotive state that helps guide our decisions alongside the rational and functional elements.

Within the context of customers advocating for your business, it ultimately comes down to how they feel about you. It’s about sentiment. If you have strong positive sentiment, chances are the future looks bright, but if you don’t… well…

Check out an excerpt from our book, Leading the Customer-led Revolution, below, as we unpack customer advocacy and why it’s crucial to have your head around the concept as leaders in the customer-led revolution.

What is Customer Advocacy?

[Excerpt from Chapter 23 of our new book]

Advocacy is simply a measure of the sentiment that your customer holds towards your organisation. It is how much they are willing to put their own reputation on the line for you. It’s a big deal – no one wants to look bad in front of their peers or friends. 

Advocacy is the sentiment they hold towards your organisation and depending on the level of the sentiment, they’ll either advocate, sit on the fence or actively dissuade others from using you (kneecap).

Customer advocacy is not about satisfaction, though it is often confused with it. Where satisfaction addresses operational or tactical issues at certain moments, advocacy is a strategy tool with a longer term horizon around customer connection and competitive advantage. It gives you an insight into your future performance – the crystal ball for your business.

Customer Advocacy is the crystal ball for your business.

While they’re different, satisfaction is related to advocacy and is more a precursor. I can be satisfied, but I might not necessarily advocate for your organisation. Similarly, if I’m not satisfied, chances are I won’t be advocating for your organisation. Where satisfaction only measures a moment in time, as we covered in Chapter 22, advocacy is about how your customer feels about you. Yep – feels – the emotional connection that they have (or don’t have) with your organisation. 

It can also apply to how your employees feel about your organisation. This is employee advocacy. In our experience, cracks in performance appear when these two are out of sync. By comparing the two advocacies (customer and employee) you can get a better understanding of what needs to be improved to make your organisation a force to be reckoned with.

The Three Types of Customers in Every Organisation

Tracking advocacy starts by understanding that the customers of EVERY organisation – regardless of sector, size, industry – fall into one of only three buckets. Knowing how many customers you have in each bucket helps you to understand where you are today, and most importantly, gives you an insight into your possible future. 

It’s why we call it the crystal ball. 

Identifying the three customer types helps you and your team to focus in on what matters most. Want to know what they are?

This article is an unedited excerpt from the upcoming book from authors Sueanne Carr + Peter Turner (aka the Dynamic Duo of Customer-led Transformation) titled, Leading the Customer-led Revolution, due out May 2023. 

Written for courageous leaders who are in charge of or charged with making their organisation truly customer-led, it provides a simple + powerful roadmap to making it happen. 

Secure your copy early, signed by the authors, at our pre-purchase page here.

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