June 22nd, 2012

As the Frog owns up to her latest addiction, she offers a powerful message about the business benefit of turning our customers into loyal advocates.
It’s time to admit it.  You deserve the truth.  Deep breath
I’m obsessed with Netflix.  There, I’ve said it.
Over the last six months, I’ve caught myself mentioning Netflix at least ten times a day.  My friend Katie has taken me to one side to have a “concerned” conversation about it.   Her husband Nathan now refuses to discuss anything vaguely related to films or TV, for fear I’ll start excitedly chirping about the new addition of Poirot episodes.  I’ve cajoled so many people into subscribing to Netflix that Phil – of mother obsession and tropical fish fame – is convinced I’m covertly “on their payroll”.  Yep, I’m obsessed.
This personal realisation led me to think about customer loyalty.  Where Netflix is concerned, not only have I purchased their wares, but I’m a regularly returning customer who proactively promotes their service to others.  I’m a priceless little nugget of gold… even if I do say so myself!
A few years ago I stumbled across the customer loyalty ladder (not literally of course – that would be bizarre).  The ladder illustrates the different types of customers that a business will encounter.  The aspiration is to “advance” customers up the ladder to a place of long-term relationship, loyalty and retention:
Reflecting on my adventures in Netflix (which sounds far more civilised than “my Netflix emotional dependency”) I realised they’ve moved me up that ladder pretty quickly… and without me noticing!

  • When I first heard about Netflix I was a suspect – I was potentially in the market for a subscriber-based internet film/TV service, but I didn’t have a particular provider preference.
  • When I took the time to find out more out about Netflix I became a prospect – I started investigating the Netflix deals and considering whether they suited my needs.   Netflix (ingenious as they are superb) capitalised on my position as a prospect, offering me a free one-month trial.
  • This in turn, resulted in me taking the leap and purchasing the service – becoming their customer.
  • Because of their ongoing addition of TV shows & films to their catalogue and my confidence in their service, I continued to happily renew my subscription each month – becoming their client.
  • And when I became so elated that I started raving about the service to anyone I thought would benefit from it, I became their advocate.  I was not only a returning customer, but I was promoting and endorsing the service to others.

(Note for Katie: I told you I didn’t have problems… I’m an advocate!)
The fascinating aspect of the customer loyalty ladder is that moving customers “up” works for both the business and the customer.  The business is happy because they establish a long-term relationship with customers who’ve become enthusiastic supporters.  The customers are happy because, let’s face it, they’re not going to become loyal promoters unless the business is truly meeting their needs.
I used to wonder why my hairdresser had “clients” but the petrol station had “customers”.  I always presumed it was because my hairdresser liked to think she was posh.  But it turns out she was right… the petrol station has people who pop in occasionally, but often go elsewhere.  My hairdresser has dedicated clientele and an established relationship of trust… she has clients.
So, my question for you today is this: do you have clients and advocates amidst those customers of yours?

For help in turning your loyal customers into advocates, please contact Marianne Page at hello@mariannepage.co.uk


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Marianne Page

Marianne is the author of three books, and is currently working on her fourth, whilst regularly writing her blog, we hope you enjoy it :-)


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