Thursday, February 23, 2012

Loyalty, Advocacy and Beyond!

Companies today talk of how customer advocacy is key to the growth of their brand. Loyalty programs are expected to retain customers and push them to advocate their brand to new or undecided customers.  Stopping at this can be enough for most brands but not pushing for something beyond that can be a missed opportunity. Your most loyal customers, quite possibly know your brand and services much better than most employees in your organization. Using this priceless knowledge and mining it to its best can become a game changer for you. The idea that immediately emanates from this is to bring your customer in as an advisor. Use her to help you know your brand from her perspective and give you ideas as to how processes can be improved and customer service in turn, made more efficient.

Restaurants have been known to ask customers for opinions on new dishes being introduced. The risk of asking certain loyal customers for their opinions can lead to skewed feedback which cannot always be translated back into the business. But when a restaurant takes that risk of introducing that dish on its menu with the feedback from its closest customers, it’s not only a tremendous show of faith, it also is a statement of how valuable loyal customers are to them. Companies may not find such a program easy to execute primarily because executing all that these customers ask for, may not be tenable. But even telling them why it’s not possible is a grand gesture in taking the relationship further.

So ask yourselves if you can execute such a program. Ask yourselves what will stand in the way and if the problems seem difficult, think of the value of a small army of your most loyal customers backing your every move. That should be enough reason to get you started.

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