Advanced Customer-Oriented Strategy: Customer Advocacy

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Anneke Zwart
Student (University), Netherlands

Advanced Customer-Oriented Strategy: Customer Advocacy

The development of the Internet has resulted in more powerful consumers than before. The Internet facilitates the gathering of up to date information about products and services before making a purchase decision. They are now able to verify organizations’ claims about particular products/services. Additional factors that have fostered customer power and involvement are: increased choice, better communication and the ability to easier make transactions.

Thus, costumer power and involvement have increased significantly. As a result, consumers nowadays do not only care about the final product, but also about service quality and the way they are treated. Consumers want to be seen and treated as human beings instead of being seen as a number.
Therefore, organizations need to adjust the way they target their customers. Organizations should not only consider the needs of potential customers, but the whole process of creating, delivering and using the product. Traditional CRM activities often tend to treat customers as economic assets, focus on high-valued consumers and create opportunistic one-way relationships. Differential treatment in CRM can increase consumer dissatisfaction and switching intentions.

Roy suggests a more advanced form of market orientation that reacts to the new drivers of increased customer involvement, knowledge and choice: Customer Advocacy. Customer Advocacy is an advanced customer-oriented strategy, because it goes deeper into the customer’s wants and needs. Customer Advocacy means doing what is best for the consumer even if this means to offer a competitor’s product or service. This also includes the provision of objective advice that identifies the real needs of the customer.

Organizations that follow such strategy are better able to recognize new market opportunities, because they have obtained more knowledge about their customers’ values and desires and have created deeper relationships with them. This can be very advantageous. Combined with increased consumer trust and positive peer-reviews this may well lead to healthy organizational profitability levels and revenue growth.
Do you believe Customer Advocacy is a realistic strategy? Why (not)?

Source: Roy, S.K. (2013) “Consequences of Customer Advocacy, Journal of Strategic Marketing Vol. 21 Iss. 3 pp. 260-276

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