What is a Customer Advocate? 

A customer advocate is a person or team entrusted by the company to uncover the needs of their customers and resolve any given issue in the best way possible.  To put it simply, customer advocates are literally the customers' advocates for the company.  This business model is customer centric in order to provide the best service and in turn a better product and overall experience for customers.  

Customer advocates listen to the customer and regularly requests feedback.  They are the liaison between the customer and management of the company.   Their job is to maintain constant contact with the customers and offer their assistance in the product, service, complaints, etc.  

Once the contact is made, it is the advocate's responsibility to keep the client constantly updated on the progress of the issue but also making sure the issue is being resolved on the company's end.  If a promise is made to the customer, it is on the customer advocate to ensure that the promise is met by speaking to the necessary people, such as directors, product managers, developers, etc.  Lastly, once the change has been made, the customer advocate must then establish a plan so that the same problem will not occur again.  

What is the difference between Customer Advocate and Brand Advocate? 

Customer advocates and brand advocates are very different, however, equally important factors of your business.  The biggest difference is that customer advocates are related to the internal workings of business where brand advocates are the actual client of the business.  Essentially, the customer advocates interact with the customers in order to assure their satisfaction.  

On the other hand, brand advocates are the customers who are loyal to your business and constantly promote your products and company.  Brand advocates are clients that are extremely enthusiastic about your business and are willing to share , recommend, and help promote your business for no benefit of their own.  Thus, a good experience with a customer advocate can help build a satisfied client base, eventually turning those satisfied customers into brand advocates for your business. 

Why are Customer Advocates Important? 

For a customer advocate, the customer is always right, which means all feedback and opinions of the customers matter.  Ultimately, if your business does not have customers, you do not have a business to run.  In order to establish a satisfied customer base, customer advocates are the lifeline of any business.

First time customers will come back if they are satisfied with your product and the service you provide.  Your goal as a business is to turn those returning customers into loyal ones and hopefully, a brand advocate in the future.  In order to accomplish this, customer advocates are necessary.  As mentioned earlier in this article, customer advocates are the "middle men" between your business and the customers.  A company and product can't properly improve and progress without feedback from those who are using it.  Customer advocates gather all of the suggestions and complaints from the customers, report them to the necessary departments within the company, implement the changes guarantee the customer and make sure the company follows through.  

How can customer advocates better my business through social media? 

Since customer advocates are the ones with direct contact to the customers, social media is an excellent tool for  them to reach wider audience.  Social media has made it easier for customers to advocate for your brand but simultaneously, complain, write suggestions, and give feedback.  Use social media to your advantage by responding to complaints, thanking your customer for feedback, and increasing your interaction with customers overall.  

Here are some tips on how your customer advocates  can utilize social media to better your business: 

Ask for feedback

Use social media to ask your customers for feedback.  Create a "feedback" section on your Facebook page or constantly encourage your customers to give you feedback by having, "a question for the week," about a certain feature or product.  

Respond and acknowledge your customers

If a customer writes to you on social media, always respond in a timely and appropriate manner.  Customers love to be noticed and appreciated so always ackowledge them for their comments, suggestions, and time.  If a comment is negative in sentiment, do not get defensive but rather act on it in a positive way and see it as a way to implement change to better your business, even if you don't agree.  Any feedback at all is always valuable for your business.  

Listen to your customers

Always listen to your customers because they are the ones you need to keep satisfied.  If you see a recurring suggestion or complaint take action to improve or make the necessary changes.  If the customers seem happy with something, continue to maintain that standard.  

Keep customers involved

Customers like to feel like they are involved in your business.  Keep them in the loop about any changes or improvement that are in the works on any products or your company as a whole.  Discuss your roadmap with the customers to keep their interest but also use social media to make any announcements regarding your company.  This is the easiest, fastest way to reach a large scale audience while keeping your customers involved.  

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