A recent study shows that 84% of brand advocates are asked questions that buyers wouldn’t ask their company’s own customer service team. These questions range from the technical (What are the dimensions?) to the personal (Will it work for my specific situation?) to even the absurd (I know it’s purple, but, like, is it TOO purple?). So how do you train and empower your advocates to answer these questions in a way that pushes your brand forward?
Why Are Consumers Asking Advocates Over CSRs?
First off, let’s understand why this phenomenon is happening. It could be that someone:
- Is embarrassed about the question they’re asking
- Wants insight into a specific use of the product
- But mostly, they want to talk to a trusted third party
People are simply more apt to trust a recommendation from a friend, family member or influencer than a company source. This even includes a brand’s customer service reps, who consumers see as an extension of the brand. Consumers can tell when a customer service rep is reading from a script, especially if that script has the same talking points as your marketing campaign or website.
Consumers want an honest and authentic response to their questions, and that’s where your brand advocates come into play.
When questions are being asked, buying decisions are being made. A consumer isn’t going to ask a question about your product or service if they aren’t (even a little) considering it as a potential purchase. This is great for brands that have a strong brand advocacy network, as those advocates are there when the consumer is having these critical buying moments.
How can you support your advocates?
5 Ways To Turn Your Brand Advocates Into Customer Service Rockstars
Step One: Educate Your Advocates
Brand advocates should be up to date on the latest features and aspects of the brand’s products and services. Note, this doesn’t mean expecting them to memorize your training manual or spec sheets. Your Superfans and advocates simply aren’t going to do that.
Instead, be sure that your content production mix includes edutainment (educational and entertainment) content that teaches your advocates about your product while not boring them. Stick to the highlights and only one-or-two key points per content piece. Spread the training across multiple pieces of content to not overwhelm or bore your advocate.
Step Two: Get Feedback from Your Advocates
If your brand is going to take the time to educate your advocates, make sure your brand is addressing the questions being asked. Don’t just guess at these questions (unless you want to waste a lot of dollars and time), ask your advocates what common questions they’re being asked in the field.
This serves two purposes:
- One, you know what type of edutainment content needs to be created to support your advocates
- Two, it allows you to identify any holes that exist in your current marketing messages
If you see that your advocates are routinely getting asked the same questions, your brand probably isn’t doing a proper job addressing that question in its marketing or product description. Fix this problem ASAP. For every client that asks these questions out loud, you can bet there’s a dozen that simply couldn’t find the answer and moved on to a competitor.
Step Three: Empower Your Brand Advocates
Let your advocates know that you love it when they answer fan questions about the brand, product, or service. Some advocates might not feel qualified to answer questions, or say it’s not their place to answer these questions. Let them know it’s 100%, Grade-A OK.
On top of the OK, be sure that you give them content to share with their fans and family that sets the advocate up as a casual expert in the space. If you’re managing your advocates through an advocacy marketing program (like SocialToaster) your advocates can easily share your latest content straight from their email.
Step Four: Give the Advocate an Exit Strategy
No matter how well-educated the advocate, there’s going to be a natural point where they simply can’t answer the question being asked. Or they might be finding themselves on the wrong end of a 20 question Q&A marathon, and are just getting tired of the conversation. Either way, you need to make sure that your advocates know the best way to close the conversation and push the consumer to a resource that can answer their questions. Make sure your brand advocates have your customer service email or number so they can easily share that with a simple sign-off message.
Step Five: Provide Encouragement
Whether it’s sharing content, answering questions or even driving a direct referral sale, a little encouragement can go a long way to turn a passive advocate (one who waits for the consumer question to come to them) to an active brand supporter (one who provides the information regardless of being asked). SocialToaster has the content sharing and rewarding function on lock, but for brands that are looking to get a bit more green from their advocates, consider implementing a referral program that rewards advocates for their direct contributions to your bottom line. Swag is always appreciated, but nothing talks louder than money.
At the very least, give your brand advocates a regular, heartfelt thank you.
Let SocialToaster Organize Your Advocates
Whether you’re aware of it, your brand advocates, customers, and fans are being asked questions about your brand, product, or services. Be sure your advocates are prepared.