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Businesses Should Win Customers’ Hearts in Big Way and Turn Them Into Advocates
      Businesses that want to succeed must learn to win their customers’ hearts in a big way and turn them into advocates, according to consulting firm Robinson & Associates, Inc.

      "Customer advocates matter and businesses of any size can benefit from them," says Martin R. Baird, chief executive officer of Boise, Idaho-based Robinson & Associates. "Major corporations with highly recognizable names have created a huge customer base of advocates which is not just loyal.  It is, in fact, the unpaid sales force for the company."

      Baird suggests businesses consider the following tips about the importance of customer advocates.

      Tip No. 1. Advocates engage in a positive form of risk. "Customer advocates risk their own personal reputation by endorsing specific companies they admire," Baird says. "They recommend businesses to friends, associates and relatives."

      Tip No. 2. Advocates create repeat business. "Customer advocates return to a business again and again," Baird says. "They are frequent patrons and that absolutely is repeat business."

      Tip No. 3. Advocates can create new business. "By spreading positive word-of-mouth advertising about a business, customer advocates encourage others to give the company a try and that possibly generates new business," Baird notes.

      Tip No. 4. Measuring advocates is a sound business practice. "If a business provides customers with a wonderful experience through outstanding service and other means and then management measures the degree to which the company has customer advocates and expresses it in terms of an index, the management team has a valuable tool," Baird explains. "The more advocates the company has, the more successful it will be. The higher the index, the more advocates there are and the business can take steps to push the index ever higher."

      Tip No. 5. A customer-centric model is the key. "Businesses should follow a customer-centric model," Baird notes. "The ultimate goal should be to make an advocate of every customer who calls or walks through the door. Although the index described in tip four is not a marketing tool, the company should strive to turn customers into ‘marketers’ for the business."

      Tip No. 6. Advocacy and the index are easy to communicate internally. "Employees are the people who make it all happen," Baird says. "Once advocacy and the index are understood, all anyone has to do is track the index over time to know where the business stands. The higher the index goes the better."

      Robinson & Associates, Inc., is a Boise, Idaho, consulting firm that helps businesses measure and manage the quality of customer service and improvements to their internal operations to enhance business performance and increase revenues. It is a leading company in marketing and client retention and development. Robinson & Associates may be reached at 208-991-2037 or at lbaird@raresults.com.

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