Customer Success | 4 MIN READ

How Customer Advocacy Drives Customer Success

Customer advocacy enhances the lifetime value of existing customers. Customer success teams, through careful strategizing, build advocates from the start.

Rohan Sheth
Nov 22, 2019

Customer advocacy

Software companies once approached customer goodwill with a lot of hope. The mantra was, “build it, and they will come.” The idea being, if a business focused on delivering an excellent product and stellar support, then after some time, hopefully, the customer would tell others all about it. Today, hope is unproductive and unnecessary. Instead, savvy businesses plan for customer advocacy. They enable customer success teams to influence customers through careful strategizing and ensuring that they build advocates from the beginning.

Customer advocacy, customer referrals

Customer advocacy enhances the lifetime value of existing customers. It is not an entirely new concept, but it has exploded in popularity and effectiveness. SaaS hinges on building long-lasting relationships. Today, customers are the loudest, most trusted voice in the marketplace. This is the case in both B2C and B2B sales and marketing. We often hear a lot about customer experience and the importance of focusing on products and services on the customer journey. While keeping customers happy is key to retention, it fuels one of the best sources of marketing and lead generation: customer referrals. Here’s how to best plan for greater customer advocacy and turn excellent customer experience into a steady stream of business.

Ensure high adoption rates

If your customers are not using your products and services to their greatest extent, they are likely not optimally benefitting. You’ve invested time and resources into developing the best SaaS solution. Getting customers to use all of its features translates to a larger impact on their organization. This impact then reverberates. Customers recognize the connection between your solution and their success.

How can you increase adoption rates? Start from the top down in your customer’s organization and get executive buy-in for the solution. Clearly communicate the benefits of the application, basing this communication on a deployment and customer follow-up plan. Promote features through communication. Market to your existing customers with regularity. Then, back all of your communication up with training. Invest the time to show users how easy your solution will make their work. (If it doesn’t, then go back to the drawing board and make sure your solution delivers benefits that can be easily realized.)

Know your customers

When it comes to the many ways customers can help drive sales and retention for your organization, it is vital to understand that not all advocates are the same. Customer advocates can be divided into a few groups, including educators, validators, status seekers, and collaborators. It’s essential to know the differences, as each has a particular mindset that can help move your brand forward. Customer advocacy is often encouraged with rewards, but there is more to success than monetary incentives. Customer advocates tend to respond to personalization and seek the ability to play a role in educating others.

Know your NPS, and take steps to maximize it

But, before we can get into how to leverage customer advocacy, we need to know how many advocates you have. This is best measured through Net Promoter Score or NPS. NPS is a measurement of a customer’s likelihood of referring your company to others. Companies determine NPS through surveys that ask the question, “would you refer others to X company?” Answers are grouped into promoters (those who respond with a nine or 10) passives (who respond with a seven or eight) and detractors (those who respond with a zero through six). Your NPS is the difference between the promoters and detractors.

The score helps drive customer advocacy because it identifies advocates and those who are not fans. But just knowing the score isn’t all that helpful. Businesses should identify why there are detractors, and find out what it will take to move them to the other end of the spectrum.

Put customer advocacy to work

Once you’ve maximized user adoption, identified advocates, and improved NPS, you can trigger customer advocacy with a referral program. The program should be based on your knowledge of your customers, and their advocacy type, and should be tracked to determine effectiveness. The best referral programs do more than simply give something back to the customer. They should also spur word-of-mouth marketing. SmartKarrot’s SmartReferral is a quick and easy marketing referral marketing platform that helps businesses move forward and leverage customer goodwill.

SmartReferral features built-in incentivization, which is instant, so customers are more likely to use it. It also allows for gamification, adding engagement to the customer advocacy process. It’s easy, scalable, sets up in just a few minutes, and can connect to your mobile applications.

Ready to put customer advocacy on your side? Learn more about your customer’s success and optimize their experience with SmartKarrot. Contact us to speak to one of our experts and start on the path to customer referrals.

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Originally Published November 22nd, 2019, Updated January 16th, 2020

Rohan Sheth

Rohan has over 11 years of experience in client services, marketing and hospitality field. Previously, he was head of digital marketing for a hi-tech mobile application. Rohan is driven by new challenges and the possibility of making an impact on individuals and businesses.

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2 years ago

Frank Warren

A good referral program can work wonders for a company. I make it simple for users to share their referral link directly to their social media accounts which can reach thousands of people very quickly. The rewards and discounts for referrals are very quickly nullified by extra sign-ups.

2 years ago

Suzie Webster

I’ve been using a referral program for quite some time now and I’ve noticed that not many will make use of it, but those that do use it a lot. I think I need to introduce users to the app better and really drive home why joining the referral program will benefit them. As of now it’s just an option which I don’t promote much.

2 years ago

Aarow Shaw

I do like referral programs and usually sign up for them when they are on offer. As for my business, I like to offer invoice discounts based on how many referrals the user has made in a month. It’s a nice incentive for the customer to continuously reduce their bill whilst bringing in more customers and money for me. This has been effective for at least a year now.

2 years ago

Zack McGregor

I try to maintain a high adoption rate by ensuring my apps are easy to understand and navigate, whilst also offering video guides and tooltips so people know where to find everything and how to use features. Like the other commenters, I also like referral programs and recently added one. It is working well so far.

2 years ago

Lucas Dent

I like to encourage and reward the best and smartest users on my platform. Those who offer their assistance to others often are given badges so that they stand out. This encourages them to keep doing what they’ve been doing which is a big help for new customers. I also like to reward those who reach certain milestones for referrals.

2 years ago

Harry Bertram

I love referral programs and provide a very comprehensive solution for my business. We offer multi-tiered membership at different prices and referrals can be used to obtain free account upgrades. It has worked really well, existing members find really creative ways to bring new ones on board. Spot on with the information here!

2 years ago

Julian Wainwright

What do you think about asking new customers about their use case of the product? Depending on their answer, they can shown different guides and given a different success manager or anything else you may need to do. It should make for efficient segmenting as well. I only just thought of this whilst reading this article and it seems like it might work.

1 year ago

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[…] the customer interest must be kept at priority, it is equally important for them to be able to negotiate with customers […]

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