Cultivating loyalty – turning customers into raving fans

Cultivating loyalty – turning customers into raving fans

Every business lives and dies on its customers, and building a loyal customer base is absolutely integral to developing and running a successful business.

In this post we look at the “ladder of loyalty” – the different step-by-step categories of customers, from potential customer, to raving fans of your business.

At the same time, we’ll be exploring the importance of developing and implementing systems designed to help as many customers as possible move to the top of the ladder.

The ladder of loyalty

The ladder of customer loyalty looks like this:

  1. Raving fans
  2. Advocates
  3. Members
  4. Customers
  5. Shoppers
  6. Prospects
  7. Suspects

And it’s our goal as business owners to ensure that as many customers as possible make it to the top of this ladder.


Suspects are your demographics – the people you suspect might be interested in your products or services. These aren’t target customers – it’s just a big pool of people who you think might want to buy from you, but who haven’t made any contact with your business yet.

Every customer starts off in this space, and through our marketing efforts, our aim is to turn them into…


These are potential customers who have engaged with our business in some way, but who haven’t yet bought from us. It might be that they have visited our website, phoned us, come into the shop, followed us on twitter, or picked up a flyer – but the common denominator is that they have reacted to our business.

By making sure we’ve got the right, quality and easy to buy offering, we can turn these people into…


Shoppers are your first time buyers – they have made a single purchase. Many businesses make the mistake of thinking of their ‘shoppers’ as customers, but it’s akin to counting your chickens before they are hatched.

The challenge with shoppers is to ensure that you’ve got a system and strategy in place to compel them to buy from you again, and only when you’ve secured that second sale should you refer to them as…


Customers are people who have bought from you more than once, and make up the majority of most business’ customer base.

The next step on the ladder is to take your best customers, and to try and get the most out of them by turning them into something more, making them feel special and an integral part of your business.

These are your…


Members are some of your most loyal customers who don’t just buy from you regularly, they also feel like they are a part of your business.

By creating members, you’ll be encouraging customers to deal exclusively with your business, shutting out your direct competition.

To turn customers into members, you need to make them feel like they are special, and are getting extra benefits from working with your business exclusively. You might try creating a loyalty scheme, or provide them with some exclusive content, advice or offers – the important thing is to give them something extra that they wouldn’t get anywhere else.

Once a member feels like they are an important part of your business, they can become…


In addition to purchasing exclusively from your business, Advocates deliver a key additional benefit – they start telling others about how good your business is, referring new business and helping you to grow your business even further.

For most businesses, only a small proportion of customers ever become advocates – and developing and cultivating these kind of customers comes down to customer service, looking after them properly and going the extra mile and taking action if things ever go wrong.

Get that right, and you’ll create…

Raving fans

The Holy Grail when it comes to customer development is raving fans – these customers aren’t just fully engaged with your business, they will also go out of their way to promote it to new customers.

Raving fans will share all your social media updates, like your pages and create fan pages, they’ll exclusively use and promote your products, and are an invaluable asset to any business.

An example of a business that has managed to cultivate a great number of raving fans would be Harley Davidson – when there are thousands of people across the world willing to tattoo your logo on their body, you’re definitely doing something right!

How Coach Pam can help 

For personalised support and practical advice on how to develop customer loyalty, or help with any aspect of running a successful business, call Coach Pam today on 07540 888016.