Using Positive Engagement To Build An Advocate Army

5 minute read

Upland Admin

People talk. We all know that. Gossip spreads around the office faster than news of cake in the kitchen. WhatsApp allows you and your friends to chat 24/7, whether catching up on the weekend’s antics (or hearing about that certain someone who should have gone home early).

Social media is a vehicle for literally anyone to say anything about whatever they want, as well as a customer engagement tool.

The one thing that unites each of these is that they’re just differing forms of the most effective communication tool ever: word of mouth. One person tells another, they tell two friends, they tell three. You know how it works, and it’s great for businesses that create positive experiences. It’s the best type of marketing there is, and it eventually pays for itself. Conversely, it’s pretty terrible for a company that’s provided a bad customer experience or fallen below expectations. Negative sentiment always translates into negative revenue.

The message here is that word gets around. Every customer dependent business should remember this is why it always pays to make the customer your greatest advocate. Here’s three stories of how other businesses did just that, showcasing exactly why it matters.

How to build customer engagement

Flagship Homes is a provider of affordable housing in the East of England. Now, as we know, housing is an industry that attracts a lot of attention, opinion and sentiment. Buying or renting a new home is one of the biggest things we’ll do in our lives. Flagship Homes recognised this but knew that its Voice of the Customer (Voc) programme was falling short of the insight needed to deliver on its promise to customers.

As things were, Flagship Homes had two full-time members of staff dedicating 100% of their hours to calling customers and asking about their experiences. It was a time-consuming and relatively inefficient process that – worst of all – didn’t result in much actionable feedback.

Working with Rant & Rave, Flagship Homes changed things around by utilising the Rant & Rave Platform, empowering customers to leave a one-to-five score and allowing them to speak in their own words with a verbatim comment. The Platform also enabled agents to speak to customers on their preferred channels. All feedback collected is then made visible to everyone from the CEO to the frontline.

Soon after implementation, Flagship Homes was collecting 1,000 lines of feedback a week. This brought to the surface a lot of insight about staff (94% of it positive – how about that?). Using this, they made some resourcing changes which saved around £40k, and at the same time their CSat score grew to 4.3 from 4.

Proof, if ever it were needed, that customer advocacy is built from solid service foundations.

Customer experience bright sparks

UK Power Networks are the people who maintain the electricity cables and lines in London, the South East and the East of England. They’re also the people you talk to if there’s a powercut in your neighbourhood.

Because customers who are experiencing an outage are rarely buzzing (sorry), service and advocacy are essential to keeping up the good name of the UK Power Networks brand. The challenge was that the organisation wasn’t learning enough about how it was performing, with just 400 surveys a month going through the books.

Since its journey began with Rant & Rave, UK Power Networks has increased that to over 17,000 pieces of feedback a month – much of it captured in real time. It also now has a destination for its 300 agents to track customer satisfaction scores, call volumes, response rates and insight. Based on this, its customer satisfaction score has risen to 8.84 – 1.05 times higher than it was before – a sign of its brilliant engagement. UK Power Networks is also learning more and ensuring that difficult conversations about why the telly has gone off half way through University Challenge (or Love Island, if you prefer pecs to specs) are much easier to have.

Brand advocacy begins at home

There’s no greater prompt to improve customer service than a record breaking fine. Certainly that’s what leading home assistance provider, HomeServe, discovered. Far from being their greatest advert, customers were becoming the company’s biggest issue, with negative sentiment surrounding the business and they knew that a cultural change was essential.

Working with the Rant & Rave Platform, they shifted things completely. Everyone from contact centre agents at desks to engineers on site have become able to deliver feedback about their experience, as it happens. Outstanding customer comments are now celebrated company-wide and no one gets a bonus if scores aren’t high enough.

The results? Well they’re pretty amazing. Over two million pieces of feedback, a 99% satisfaction score in the USA and complaints down by 96%. Brick by brick renewal for a housing company that really needed it.

So there we have it. Three customer engagement stories, three examples of why making your customer your greatest advocate is crucial to loyalty, engagement and (eventually) bottom line success.

Reliable products. Real results.

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