The Business Case for Advocacy


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Social customer care—the integration and adoption of social
processes in the context of customer service—is the new
focus area for firms wanting to accelerate growth and spread
of favorable word of mouth around of their brand. Many
assume that a key driver for social customer care is cost—or
more specifically, cost avoidance, and it’s easy to see why:
Customer service and cost reduction have long gone hand-inhand.

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The Business Case for Advocacy

  1. 1. the businesscase for advocacy
  2. 2. share this whitepaper Lithium social software helps the world’s most iconic brands to build brand nations—vibrant online communities of passionate social customers. Lithium helps top brands such as AT&T, Sephora, Univision, and PayPal build active online communities that turn customer passion into social media marketing ROI. For more information on how to create lasting competitive advantage with the social customer experience, visit, or connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and our own brand nation – the Lithosphere. request a demowe help companies unlock the passion of their customers.The Lithium Social Customer Suite allows brands to build vibrant customer communities that: reduce service costs with grow brand advocay with drive sales with innovate faster with social support social marketing social commerce social | © 2012 Lithium Technologies, Inc. All Rights Reserved 2
  3. 3. share this whitepaperSocial customer care—the integration and adoption of social no one has excess funds floating around that can be wastedprocesses in the context of customer service—is the new on non-essential customer experiences, where non-essentialfocus area for firms wanting to accelerate growth and spread is defined in the context of driving a sale and/or improvingof favorable word of mouth around of their brand. Many brand value. Peer-to-peer service (think community forums)assume that a key driver for social customer care is cost—or offers real savings by shifting cost from paid agents tomore specifically, cost avoidance, and it’s easy to see why: unpaid—read “passionate” volunteers. Implemented correctly,Customer service and cost reduction have long gone hand-in- peer to peer support can improve the customer experiencehand. In the traditional view it’s as if the best way to service a and lower costs in the process. That’s a double win. Butcustomer was to do so as cheaply as possible evidently on the there’s a bigger prize out there, and social customer caretwisted logic which holds that reducing expenses improves leads right to it. It’s called brand advocacy.margins and results in a stronger company. Stop for a moment and consider the following scenario:Translated, it’s more like “spend heavily on advertising, and Your customer has an issue with a new product and callsthen dodge as many post-sale bullets as possible.” The your 800-number seeking live customer assistance. Yourproblem is that when all those bullets are fired in public phone agent greets the customers, gathers information andthey eventually land somewhere. And that somewhere is the then pleasantly and quickly solves the problem. “Thanks” aresocial web. With the majority of customers’ posts to brands exchanged as the case is brought to a close. Your customerleft unanswered that’s a lot of loose bullets flying around. The hangs up and moves on with his or her life, problem solved.result? The social web is the new battleground, and socialcustomer care has become the focal point precisely becauseit brings an actionable voice to the customerTo be sure, there is a viable path to cost reduction for sometypes of customer interactions: It may be more economicalto serve customers through an online or mobile app, forexample, whose costs can be amortized over the entirecustomer base rather than accrued as incremental chargesassociated with individual transactions. And yes, cost matters: 1
  4. 4. share this whitepaper thank you! RT RT RT Now consider the same interaction on the social web: Your customer posts a question in the hopes of gaining resolution, in public. Customers believe—correctly or otherwise—that they will gain some social leverage by aksing the question in full view of their preferred social network. Based usually on some prior experience, they also believe that someone they are connected to just might have the answer! After all, if they have this issue, someone else probably has in the past, right? Right! All of that goodwill—the solution, the posts from friends You, as the head of the social team, see the post come in jumping in, your visible participation--accrues directly to your across your global listening dashboard (you are listening, brand, in public, where it drives customer advocacy. More yes?) and watch as your brand representative resolves the than cost reduction, building brand advocates is the new end- issue, all in real time. Now wait for it…because you know it’s game for social care. Building advocates drives brand value, coming: Your happy customer says “Thank You!” in public, and brand value—more than expense reduction—sustains kicking off a series of re-tweets that traverse the social healthy margins. graphs of all those connected. You just picked up brand Advocacy also drives adoption and protects your brand from points, points that go right into your brand value bank attack. The customers who stand alongside you, who stop to account. And whose brand can’t use a little added currency say thank you and amplify your message across the social in their bank account? The entire process played out in public: web are your allies in the fight for market share. They are the unlike the phone conversation—that no one saw—lots of sources of innovation. Their stories drive sales and repeat people saw this happen. business. When someone hears about and searches for more information about your brand, product or service they find the accolades associated with your social customer efforts, and they move toward conversion as a direct result. There is comfort in knowing a brand has your back. Got it? It’s as simple as building brand advocates on the social web. brand pointbrand nd brandpoint bra int d bran t d po point ran t 2 n