Business Leadership: Do You Have a Culture of Customer Advocacy?
If a customer asked you right now — who is my advocate — what would you say? The consumer protection agency? The better business bureau? Or everyone in this company!
Or would you hesitate? Would you start thinking of which department handles angry customers?
If a customer asks one of your employees — who is my advocate — will they be stumped by the question?
If you and your teams wouldn’t all respond “we are”, it’s time to ask yourselves …
Business Leadership: Without Customer Advocacy
When customers ask, “who is my advocate”, the only answer that earns you their trust is … “all of us.” Else at some point, the customers will experience:
The Great Runaround.
Whether it’s in a small professional practice, a mid-size business, or a large corporation, the customers will feel like hockey pucks at some point as you and your teams pass them around. Meanwhile the pucks (your customers) will look around for a company that advocates for them instead of playing with them.
When you specify departments or individuals as customer advocates, you set up customer interaction as a tug-of-war. It tells the customer you want to contain what you offer them. The customers must tug and tug to get what they want.
The Last Resort.
If your business leadership isn’t customer advocacy, the culture is “catch the customers just before they leave.” Yet, your retention efforts are late. By then, the customers are fed up and no longer trust you. They feel unappreciated. They have endured too much disdain, frustration, and pain to still care.
Business leadership without customer advocacy comes across as manipulative and greedy. It mistrusts customers in the fear they will drain profits. It isolates their requests to certain departments in response to this fear. This toxic vibe is not a customer retention strategy.
Long term success in business is achieved through and with the customers. Let your message to customers be: We exist because of you!
Have each and every customer saying, “This company makes life easy. They are reasonable and professional. They have great products and services at a fair price and I have no need to leave.”
Build a culture of customer advocacy. Empower every employee to be a customer advocate. Seek and destroy all silos, tugs-of-war, runarounds, and mistrust. That’s smart business leadership that creates customer loyalty.
From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™
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Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, delivering the ultimate customer service experience, employee engagement, and teamwork. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.
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