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HomemibusinessIt’s all about Customer Advocacy

It’s all about Customer Advocacy

Let’s face it, things can go wrong and mistakes can be made – mistakes that can irritate or anger your customers. But that doesn’t have to mean the end of a loyal relationship. By going the extra mile to correct even the smallest error, you can create a customer for life – and in doing so, attract their friends, family and colleagues to your practice as well.

Customer service and customer satisfaction are things of the past. Don’t get me wrong, they are still very important factors in any business. It’s just that, in this day and age, every practice owner (and employee) should know the key components to achieving great customer service and how they can keep their customers satisfied.

In recent years, across all industries and businesses there has been a noticeable shift towards building customer advocacy – that is, encouraging customers to recommend your brand over that of a competitor.

In a blog post listing predictions for businesses in 2013, the consulting firm Forrester states that it expects companies to focus on emotional insights to drive customer advocacy and loyalty.

Word of mouth is a very powerful marketing tool when used correctly.

The reasons for doing so are compelling – customer advocacy means that customers:

  • will spend more per transaction with the business,
  • are likely to recommend the business to others,
  • will have a high level of loyalty to the business,
  • will have confidence in the business and
  • will feel a sense of belonging from doing business with the business.

Word of Mouth

Word of mouth is a very powerful marketing tool when used correctly.
In today’s digital world, the use of social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter makes it so much easier to tell others of your experience. As a consequence, word-of-mouth can spread like wildfire, whether it is positive or negative. Before social media, reports suggest that a customer who has received poor customer service experience tends to tell about five others about it. Now with a single Facebook post, hundreds of friends are able read up about the service experience and chime in on the conversation.

Here is just one fantastic example of how a Woolworths store manager served a customer above and beyond their expectations – and generated a powerful response.

To acknowledge the service received, the customer wrote this on Woolworths’ Facebook page:

“I just wanted to commend the store manager at Woolworths Gawler; Jeff. I went into the store today to buy a few things for dinner. Got home and started cooking and opened up the sour cream that I just bought and it looked off. So I rang the store to complain and Jeff answered the phone. I told him that I had just bought this sour cream and it is off, he said he was so sorry and asked me where I lived. I was just expecting him to tell me to come back in and collect another one, but without hesitation he asked me where I lived and said yep no worries I’ll drop one off to you in ten mins and give you a full refund. I was gob smacked! He then asked me what the use by date was so that he could check a few others to make sure there wasn’t going to be another problem. All I was expecting was for him to write a note at the front desk so that when I got a chance I could go in and get a refund. I mean it was only AUD$1.60. He rocked up within ten minutes and gave me not one but two tubs of sour cream just in case another one was bad, and then gave me a AUD$10 gift card for my troubles. I cried. I tried to give him a bottle of wine for his trouble, telling him that he had gone above and beyond anything that I ever expected. He refused and said he would get more pleasure from knowing I would enjoy it with my family over Christmas. Bless him. I have never had this level of customer service before and will never forget this. Will forever recommend Woolworths Gawler to all my friends and family. xxxxx Thank you Jeff.”

This Facebook post was created on the 5 December 2012. A fortnight later, the post was ‘Liked’ over 9,200 times and there had been over 650 comments left by other customers. This is the result of just one man in one store – Jeff at Woolworths Gawler. Imagine if all 1,000 plus Woolworths stores in Australia and New Zealand combined their efforts to provide the level of service provided by Jeff…

And imagine the impact on your practice, should a customer choose to post a message about the exceptional service you and your staff have delivered.

Terry Ashton is the Director at Mystery Customer Pty Ltd, an Australian owned company that provides businesses with customer insights and checks compliance. He joined Mystery Customer in 2001 and has worked with a major Hospitality Industry Association as a Senior HR Consultant and National Training Manager. www.mysterycustomer.com.au


http://blogs.forrester.com/kerry_bodine/13-01-04 forresters_2013_customer_experience_predictions