A customer advocacy program can help you turn your most passionate and loyal customers into brand ambassadors, and many businesses are recognizing the true opportunity such programs present. In fact, according to IDC research, while only 10 percent of B2B businesses had customer advocacy programs in 2017, this number increased to 67 percent in 2018.
Whether you don’t yet have a customer advocacy program in place or are looking to improve the one you already have, consider the following benefits of implementing a successful customer advocacy program.
Recognize Your Most Dedicated Customers
Depending on your business, you likely have a wide range of customers – including those who don’t leverage your products and services as much as they should and others who make the most of what you have to offer. For customers who are deeply engaged with your business, it’s important to show how much you appreciate their dedication.
In 2018, we launched Hireology Insider, an exclusive community of HR leaders and hiring experts. To date, the program has more than 200 members. Day in and day out, Insiders work tirelessly to build their best teams by running a consistent, compliant and effective hiring process – and fully embracing the Hireology platform. To show customers our appreciation, Insider program benefits include: early access to new releases and features, exclusive content, opportunities to network with fellow Insiders, and more.
In addition to recognizing top customers, your advocacy program can boost engagement for customers who might not be taking full advantage of your products and services. These customers will see how others benefit from your advocacy program and be more likely to engage – which can ultimately improve their business results. For example, many Hireology Insiders have seen improved time to hire, decreased spending on recruitment marketing, and other benefits.
Improve Your Products and Services
Since advocates are likely your most engaged customers, they’re the perfect group to tap into for feedback on your products and services. Consider reaching out to your customer advocates to offer them early access to new features, ask if there are any features they’d like see added to your products or services, and solicit general feedback about the overall customer experience. Using this feedback, you can continuously improve your offerings to meet the needs of your customers.
In October 2018, the day before Hireology’s annual Elevate human capital management summit, we hosted a Customer Advisory Board with more than a dozen retail automotive customers. During the half-day session, customers discussed their latest hiring challenges and opportunities, provided Hireology product feedback and shared an overview of which benefits are the most useful in helping them attract top talent in today’s competitive market.
Grow Your Business
A customer advocacy program offers you a variety of ways to grow your business. For example, your most engaged advocates will likely be interested in tapping into more of your products and services, helping you grow relationships with these customers even more – and helping with long-term customer retention.
You can also offer members of your customer advocacy program incentives for referring new customers – such as a gift cards, discounted products or services, and more. And receiving referrals directly from customers can greatly benefit your business – customers acquired through referrals have a 37 percent higher retention rate. Additionally, 81 percent of customers acquired through referrals are more likely to engage with brands that have reward or advocacy programs.
In addition to referrals, your customer advocacy program can also help prospects as a whole better understand how much you invest in your customers and their overall success. Make sure your customer advocacy program is highlighted on your website and in other marketing materials. Seeing details about this program, as well as testimonials from customer advocates, will help get prospective customers excited to start working with your business.
If you don’t have customer advocacy program in place, you’re missing out on an opportunity to build strong, lasting relationships with your best customers and attract new business.