Advocacy-Back Stabbers or Not So Secret Admirers?
Question- What are your customers saying about you right now?
How many times have you stopped to think about this? Have you even thought about it? Funny thing is, that most people who run their own businesses, large or small all say that the customer is the most important person. Well this is great, but are these businesses doing enough to increase the instance of getting the customer to talk about them positively.
Picture this, and lots of people do it. You go to an online auction site, (I mention no names but you know who) and before bidding on an item you go and check out the feedback don’t you. If they have rubbish feedback, even one, you will think twice before bidding. You might say ‘well it depends when that piece of feedback was posted’, and you are right of course, if it was a year ago and everything has been great since then you forgive them, if it was a month or two then you will be wary, and in the last week? Well you probably wouldn’t touch them with a shitty stick. The fact is that the facility to see when the bad feedback was posted plays a big role in your purchasing decision. I wonder how much money any trader has lost in the initial days, weeks, or months after bad feedback was posted. I wonder how hard they worked to ensure that the feedback was positive?
Here is another scenario, planning a holiday, looking at places to go. You might just go to a review site that rates such places. You find a place that looks good on their homepage, but when you check the site the reviews are awful, so you don’t book do you.
You see in this world where we have the ability to self publish, the power of the consumer grows ever stronger, and as we are easily influenced by another’s experience, it can make the difference to the way we spend our hard earned money, in turn making or breaking a business. Interesting too, that often when a business owner is asked; “how do you attract customers? advertising perhaps?” the answer is very often “Ah I get my business through ‘word of mouth’.” Well word of mouth has to start somewhere but that is another blog, lets focus on the word of mouth shall we, or the advocacy.
What goes on in Vegas stays in Vegas right?
Not really. With social media nothing is sacred and therefore the game has changed. Years ago, it was said that an unhappy customer will tell an average of 16 people and each one of those will tell another five. Scary huh? Well it is should be, because now it is so many more. Millions more. Social Media has made this happen. If you look on the magical blue bird that is Twitter, it doesn’t take long to find someone moaning on about the poor service they have received and conversely you will also see people advocating and talking up lots of others.
This advocacy is the holy grail of customer service, and every nice thing that someone says about you can be converted into cash, by virtue of their very nature. People even drive you to their feedback and reviews on auction sites and online trading sites, not to mention social media like LinkedIn where the ‘recommendation’ is king. Go after those babies and you can really make magic happen. You might want to think about writing down what you think your customers say about you, what you know your customers say about you and what you would like your customers to say about you. Three viewpoints, if there is parity, and it is positive, then you are on the right track.
The lesson here is, what exactly is your strategy to grow your own advocacy, and once you have it, how are you going to make it work for you? Testimonials, recommendations, references all do the same thing; they give an independent, viewpoint on someone’s experience. Never take them for granted, if you get them right, the people who write these notices will give you continued support at every opportunity, given the chance. This continued support is advocacy. A friend once gave me a quote, “business goes where it is invited and stays where it is welcome.” Make all of your clients, and customers welcome and not only will they come back, but they will tell others to come too. Get it wrong and they will stay away, not only that but they will tell others using all the tools at their disposal to stay away too. It is not a hard choice really.