Top 5 Customer Advocacy Tools for 2023

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    Are you riding the winds of change? Traditional marketing and post-sales techniques are still safe bets, but true growth can only be achieved by elevating customer advocacy. This post-sales strategy relies on two key factors – product excellence and building customer relationships. We’ve shortlisted 5 leading customer advocacy tools that you must consider in 2023, each of which address the issue in different ways. Let’s commence.

    What Are Customer Advocacy Tools?

    Customer advocacy tools help businesses shift into a proactive state where customers become business enablers by recommending products to friends, colleagues, or relatives. These tools help move away from the old transactional mindset that focuses solely on the current bottom line. Customer advocacy tools essentially help build relationships and partnerships for the long-term.

    As per Hubspot, only 12% of customers today think that businesses prioritize them. Adopting the advocacy mindset and putting customer needs first allows businesses to support customers in new ways and keep their satisfaction levels high. Top-tier support and frictionless experiences transform customers into brand advocates, who then activate passive market segments for you and help you scale up faster.  

    This is why more and more businesses today need customer advocacy tools.

    This is part of an extensive series of guides about managed services

    The Criteria We Used to Evaluate Customer Advocacy Tools

    Before diving into the specifics, we would like to mention the criteria and parameters that were taken into consideration while creating this list. Simply put, these customer advocacy tools are the most comprehensive ones on the market today.

    Here are the criteria that we monitored closely:

    • Ease of Use / Onboarding – Customer advocacy tools can be extremely capable, but they won’t be too beneficial if the learning curve is too steep or if the onboarding process is too cumbersome and time-consuming.
    • Functionality / Features  – Your tool of choice needs to have as many features as possible to address the complexity that comes with advocacy and community activities. 
    • Support – With businesses now scaling up fast, time is becoming extremely valuable. Slow and poor post-sales support is a big deal breaker in today’s markets where there is cut-throat competition. 
    • Integrations / Compatibility – Your CS tech stack needs to be as lightweight and streamlined as possible. You also need your tools of choice to be compatible with as many platforms as possible.
    • Pricing / Value for Money – Last but not the least comes the financial aspect. The ongoing financial crisis means that businesses of all sizes need to take the ROI aspect into consideration before making the move.

    Related: Top Customer Sentiment Analysis:
    What’s It All About and Why You Need It

    Top Customer Advocacy Tools for 2023

    Without further ado, let’s dive into the top 5 customer advocacy tools today:

    Influitive – The Direct Approach

    Influitive is a leading customer advocacy tool that helps businesses locate, analyze, and target potential brand advocates. Profiling these personas helps create strong relationships with them, something that can transform them faster and help create a better bottom line. This tool also helps discover the voice of the customer (VOC) and build a dedicated reference pool for improved post-sales efforts.

    This tool also offers other services like customer communities, via which you can incentivize community engagement and encourage product feedback sharing for better brand awareness. This is a great environment to start a conversation with customers.

    Founded: 2010
    Main Features: Customer Advocacy, Employee Advocacy, Customer Community, Customer Experience, Customer Success, Customer Loyalty 
    Pricing: Customer advocacy – $1,999/month, Digital Community – $3,499/month
    Pros: Easy to use gamified interface with templates, Strong support team
    Cons: Pricey, Better for enterprise, Limited integration

    Higher Logic – The Community-Based Approach

    Higher Logic is another customer advocacy and community solution that has been in the game for more than a decade already. It helps simplify retention by finding the right customers to engage with, while also creating an interactive community to encourage engagement. Businesses can then also use email campaigns (built-in functionality) and strategic services to pinpoint the best potential advocates.

    Courtesy of Vanilla Forums – Vanilla

    Founded: 2007
    Main Features: Customer Community, Email Campaigns, Strategic Services
    Pricing: Not available on the website. Contact the vendor
    Pros: Quick onboarding, Good customer support, Automated community actions
    Cons: Can get expensive at scale, Usability/navigation issues, Lack of self-service

    Staircase AI – The Automated Customer Insights Approach

    Staircase AI is disrupting the customer advocacy space with its automated approach that automatically detects happy customers and allows CS teams to target them as potential advocates. By automatically analyzing cross-channel customer communications, you are essentially bypassing all NPS surveys, direct feedback collection, and email activities for faster and more accurate results.

    This solution can break down what the customer is saying, regardless of the communication channels used. It goes one step further by highlighting “extremely positive” sentiment spikes. This not only helps identify potential advocates, but also allows you to identify new case study opportunities or recruit the right users for your next beta, based on the comments being made on the various channels.

    Source: Staircase AI product

    Related: Customer Relationship Score

    NextBee – The Centralized and Cross-Platform Approach

    NextBee is helping businesses boost Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) by promoting customer engagement, which drives advocacy and loyalty. It helps achieve this with a centralized platform that it calls CX360. CX360 uses data-driven insights and incentive modeling to help implement a data-driven approach to customize promotions and incentives, essentially taking the guesswork out of loyalty programs.

    How is this achieved? The NextBee platform has a dashboard where you can see all active loyalty programs, create reports for offline analysis. Furthermore, you can also configure incentive rules for multiple use cases. You can use a wide range of gamified incentives to boost engagement. Integrations are also very good with NextBee – Salesforce, Magento, Zogo, Shopify, and ESP software.

    Founded: 2007
    Main Features: CX360 Platform, Spotlights (Employee Advocacy)
    Pricing: Not available on the website. Contact the vendor
    Pros: Exceptional Support, Industry-leading integrations, Feature-rich product
    Cons: Comes with a learning curve, Interface can be overwhelming at times

    Insided – The Self-Served Approach

    Insided, powered by GainSight, is another great customer community platform if you want to prioritize customer advocacy. It’s great for people looking for more in-app freedom where they don’t need to contact support reps for every major step they wish to take. The interface is centralized, user-friendly, and extremely customizable. Expert users can be highlighted easily and new ones can find answers easily. 

    This platform supports the implementation of in-app embeddables, knowledgebases, and the obvious communities – open and secure forums where customers can interact, advocate, and share their experiences. 

    Founded: 2010
    Main Features: Self-Served Platform, Product Feedback and Communication
    Pricing: Not available on the website. Contact the vendor
    Pros: User-friendly solution, Good support, Gamified features
    Cons: Limited emailing capabilities, Average integrations, Can get pricey

    Founded: 2021
    Main Features: Customer Intelligence, AI-Powered Relationship Scoring, Live Journey Maps
    Pricing: Starter Plan – $0, Growth Plan – $499, Enterprise Plan – Contact the vendor 
    Pros: Fully automated, Strong support, Easy to use, Fully scalable 
    Cons: Average integrations, No built-in community features 

    All Tools Have Been Graded On a 5-Star Scale (1 Lowest Score, 5 Maximum Score).
    Based on User Reviews from the G2, Capterra, & TrustRadius Platforms.

    Wrapping Things Up

    As evident from the list above, there are many ways to create a strong customer advocacy pipeline. But the growing consensus is that CS teams now need to better understand customer sentiment and relationship fluctuations to achieve success. Unfortunately, these blind spots are multiplying due to multi-channel communications that are creating more and more unprocessed/siloed data. 

    Breaking down cross-channel communications and understanding sentiment in real time have become key requirements today. Make sure you have these bases covered before you decide to invest in your new customer advocacy tool for 2023. 

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