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Reimagining CX - Building Customer Advocates


As marketers, we should be aiming not only to convert prospects into customers, but to cultivate our customers into advocates. When I spoke to CRM and marketing software expert and LinkedIn Top Industry Voice, Andy Masters, he explained that this requires a cohesive approach that unites marketing, IT and operations.

“Previously, marketing and operations worked in isolation and the IT team rarely had the context for what they were doing. The focus was on getting stuff done, not on why they were doing it, often resulting in ‘fluffy’ marketing campaigns. This is no longer enough.”

Thankfully, things are changing – this is due in large part to companies taking a more strategic and congruous approach to building and signposting customer journeys.

Turning customers into advocates

“In the last ten years, these three disciplines have come together, which is a good thing. Uniting marketing, operations and IT is essential to create roadmaps that point customers in the direction they need to go beyond their initial interaction with a brand.”

He continued, “There is still work to be done here to support and drive ongoing sales and to generate the engagement, loyalty and trust that transforms customers into advocates. When it comes to building customer experiences, companies need to adhere to the basics. In a nutshell this means, working holistically as a business, moving forward as an integrated unit and learning to be your own best customer.”

Andy outlined the following tips to help convert customers into advocates:

  • CX needs to come from the top. To understand how your customers interact with your company, you need to become your own biggest customers and harshest critics.
  • Learn from the competition. A competitive landscape drives innovation and makes for a better customer experience. Look at what your competitors are doing right and replicate it in a way that aligns with what works for your business.
  • Listen to your customers. Their interactions, engagement and transactions will tell you everything you need to know, you just need to listen.
  • Absolute trust is required. Customers need to trust a business’s products and services before they will advocate for their brand. Respect this and earn their trust by treating them how you want to be treated as a customer yourself.
  • It is about the whole journey. You need to be able to anticipate your customers’ needs and deliver at every stage – from prospects to loyal customers and through to advocates. As a business you know what customers are buying and when they are buying it, but remember to put yourself in your customers’ shoes.

Getting the balance right

Data can help you to anticipate your customers’ needs before they do. Where you can, form partnerships with complementary organisations to learn more about your customers and their behaviours outside your own business. This can also help you to avoid internal biases when it comes to analysing your customer data.

When it comes to accessing, analysing and applying data, however, it’s important to remember that just because you can, doesn’t mean you always should.

“There is some great and transformative tech out there that will allow you to hyper-personalise your marketing.” explained Andy. “But remember, getting too personal can feel creepy. To avoid losing the advocates you’ve worked hard to win, be sure to agree as a harmonious team where the line is between being attuned to your customers’ needs and ‘hello Big Brother’.”

Balancing the role of team and technology also applies to using AI.

“AI can’t converse with your customers. It can be used to enhance your team, not replace them,” explained Andy. “By all means deploy AI and learn from it, but be aware that if you try to use AI without humans overseeing it, you will end up miles away from where you want to be.”

Building customer advocates is all about cultivating trust by listening, learning and understanding what your customers need and want from you as a business. Having a cohesive team supported by data and technology behind your CX will help you to develop the customer journeys you need to get you there.

You can access the full Reimagining CX interview series here.

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