How you support your clients can determine the success of your business. According to a report by PwC, 73 percent of people point to the customer experience as an important factor in purchasing decisions but only 49 percent of customers say companies provide good customer care.
Client advocacy means providing the resources, information, and solutions your customers need at the right times. It means working with people throughout the customer journey—even when that journey doesn’t end with a purchase.
This is especially important in 2021, as consumers are still reeling and recovering from the events of 2020. Keep clients referring new clients and coming back for more with these five simple strategies.
1. Find Local Partners to Support Your Clients
If you genuinely care about your clients, you need to be able to support them even if your company lacks the ability to take them on personally. Some potential clients may be too small for your company to dedicate time too, or too big for your team to handle, and in this case, you can refer them to trusted local partners.
"If we are unable to obtain an excellent result to settle a client’s case I partner with other attorneys who have dedicated their practice to litigation and trial … “I am willing to part with a significant portion of my fee in order to get the best team of lawyers for each of my clients’ cases,” says Scott J. Corwin, attorney and president of Scott J. Corwin, says.
The clients that you assist may be able to recommend people to your business who are the right fit for your business, so helping them now will pay off in the long-term. Plus, you may also be able to set up a mutually beneficial partnership in which the companies you refer to also refer work back to you.
2. Adjust Language for Your Client and Industry
To provide value to your clients, consider how you communicate with them. Oftentimes, documents and emails are written with such professional language and tone that the message gets confusing and turns people away. “Customers want conversations, not ‘correspondence,’” Gregory Ciotti writes at HelpScout. “You’re not talking with the Queen of England.”
Advocating for your client means connecting with them and making yourself available to assist them. Consider auditing your communication templates to see if they could be more conversational or if your industry jargon needs to be toned down for your audience. If you’re not sure where to start, ask 3 to 5 of your long-time clients to share their feedback.
3. Don’t Sacrifice Quality Care for Metrics
As more companies invest in data-driven decision making, some managers are starting to “miss the forest for the trees.” In other words, they’re so focused on hitting key metrics and reaching target goals that they forget about the actual employees and customers behind the numbers.
This over-focus on data can also make managers victims of Goodhart’s law, a theory by Charles Goodhart which states, “when a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.”
A common example of Goodhart’s law is a company that wants to help a set number of customers each hour, with the idea that helping customers faster leads to positive experiences. Instead, employees spend less time with customers and fail to offer the best solutions because they’re more focused on speed and quality. The metrics are hit but at a greater cost.
This doesn’t mean that making decisions with data is bad. Data can be incredibly powerful and useful. However, don’t forget about the people behind them.
4. Provide Support in Real-Time
You might close your business at 5 pm each day, but that doesn’t mean your customers don’t want to reach you late at night. Protect your work-life balance and mental health, while still advocating and supporting your clients consistently, invest in automation and support tools.
“During your company’s downtime, there should be another form of customer support available to them if they don’t have a connection with a live contact center,” Ivan Widjaya advises at BizEpic. “This is a vital component of great customer experience.”
In some cases, this might involve hiring a customer service center to help with evening calls. In other cases, this might mean setting up an automated system to let customers know when you will have an answer for them. Find what works for your business and begin implementing.
5. Know When to Automate and When Not to Automation
Customer automation can be valuable allowing companies to automate countless tasks. However, too much automation can isolate customers and actually damage your business.
According to a study by Drift, it takes 12 positive customer experiences to make up for a single negative experience. Furthermore, 59 percent of people would stop using a customer conversation tool “if it provided inaccurate information or didn't answer their question adequately.”
Consider where your automation actually allows you to support and advocate for your clients—and where it may leave them out to dry. Where a bot gets stumped, a human client advocate should be able to solve a problem in just a few minutes.
Be an Advocate for Your Client
Advocating for your clients means showing up for them when they need you—and supporting them in finding solutions, even if your business can’t provide the solution. Use these strategies to be a better advocate for your clients in 2021 and beyond.
Author Bio: Jessica Thiefels is the author of, 10 Questions That Answer Life’s Biggest Questions, podcast host of Mindset Reset Radio, and CEO of Jessica Thiefels Consulting. She's been writing for more than 10 years and has been featured in top publications including Forbes and Entrepreneur. She also contributes to Fast Company, The Ladders, and more. Follow her on Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.