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4 ways to benefit from consumer advocates


Social media approval can be shared with your target audience.

Social media approval can be shared with your target audience.

People listen to their peers. A recent consumer survey conducted by the Bright Local software company found 72 percent of consumers trust small businesses more if they have positive online reviews.

Many organizations hope to capitalize on modern online social capabilities by getting customers to recommend a brand to their contacts. Here are four ways businesses can use their customer care centers to promote and utilize consumer advocates.

1. Share stories with marketing
A company care center should have a customer experience management solution in place. Collecting data from daily consumer service interactions allows managers to report success or spot troubling trends. The information gathered by a customer service system is also helpful for other business departments such as marketing, according to the Harvard Business Review.

When consumer care interactions produce particularly excellent stories or consumers deliver kind messages, employees should ask the customer if it’s OK to share the information. Some care centers may be able to monitor social media channels and collect positive remarks from public postings.

Individual stories may make great quotes for promotional materials, or marketing could use overall data to advertise a consistent level of care.

2. Create a network of consumers
When care agents end an interaction, they could make a request to contact the company in the future through social media. Public platforms are a convenient form of support for many consumers and social sites hold other advantages.

Asking customers to join a Twitter or Facebook page makes them part of an online network. Not only are they connected to the business, but it encourages interactions with fellow consumers. When a customer posts a nice comment on a social media forum, an organization wants as many members of the target audience to see it as possible.

“Provide options for advocacy that are easy to follow.”

3. Look out for misinformation
The Wall Street Journal shared the story of a consumer that started handling customer support concerns on his own. The consumer answered questions on a company’s social media page to help other users who had issues with products. The company appreciated the enthusiasm but had to put a stop to the activities because the brand advocate wasn’t quite correct with all of his answers.

Consumers that want to help a business may not know the best way to do it. Customer care centers have to monitor social channels to make sure kindly customers aren’t making promises the company can’t fulfill. The best solution is to provide options for advocacy that are easy to follow. That way, consumers know exactly what to do if they want to help out.

4. Provide incentives
Companies can encourage advocacy using incentives. Many organizations have started online contests asking consumers to write messages or make videos about a brand to qualify for a raffle or other rewards program.

While this is usually an idea proposed by marketing, a customer care center can help by providing insight into the most effective incentives. Knowing what occurs during regular customer service interactions allows companies to learn what consumers need or prefer. Using hard data, organizations can create advocacy incentives that really get people contributing.


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