The best customers are not just ones who buy your products and services, or may spend much more for a purchase than the average purchase value. The best customers are loyal, committed and advocate for a company’s brand, products and/or services without the company asking or incenting them to. I call these special types of customers “customer advocates.” Customer advocates are usually people that are thrilled with a company’s products, services and brand, and are willing to refer them to many friends, associates and family members who they selflessly believe should also obtain the same benefits as they have received. A company that has earned the trust, loyalty and respect of customer advocates has earned something more precious than short term profits and growth. Customer advocates can be the key to a company’s future success if they can continue to be thrilled and their loyalty is retained. First, customer advocates need to be developed. The best way to develop customer advocates is to; 1) provide them with extreme value well beyond expectations, 2) always offer superior products and services than the competition, and most important, 3) treat them like human beings and the “gold” they represent to the success of your business. Once a business has developed customer advocates, it is important to convert them into loyal customer advocates. To produce a significant group of loyal customer advocates a business needs to; 1) continuously improve and innovate so the customers’ wants, needs and aspirations are always more than satisfied, 2) communicate with your customers frequently to understand their changing needs, wants and aspirations, and, 3) enable customer advocates to communicate with each other with a feedback loop back to the business. A sizable group of customer advocates can be a low cost, efficient and very effective means to achieve challenging growth objectives and market leadership in the long run.