Brilliant CX: Turning Customers into Champions


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Looking to create customer loyalty? Determine potentials, ignore non-essentials, and then treat your best like royalty.

Champions are those influential people in your marketplace that actively recommend and promote you and your organization without being asked. Champions believe in you and your organization so much that they gladly spend their time educating your prospects on the great value you have to offer. Champions contact you with sincere suggestions on how to help you become more successful. Champions help you to compress cycle time, reduce cost of sales and servicing, and grow your business. Champions are golden.

Loyal champions are the result you achieve when your brilliant customer experiences give those customers the success they yearn for.

So what are you doing to nurture Champions? Here are three CX steps for turning customers into clients, and clients into champions.

1. Determine your current level of your relationship. Plot out where your existing customers (you also can categorize other key players in your marketplace) would fall on The Relationship Continuum shown in Figure 1. (Remember that customers are people, not organizations.) Next, figure the percentages of each of the five groups. For example, let’s say that you had zero Opposers, 15 percent Neutrals, 55 percent Leaners, 28 percent Friends, and the remaining 2 percent were Champions. You now have a baseline from which to measure progress.


2. Establish your relationship goals. Obviously, you want to move all your customers to the right, but it is always best to focus on where the greatest potential lies. Forget about Opposers and Neutrals (the gaps are just too big) and target turning Leaners into Friends and Friends into Champions. Using the earlier example, your goals might be 50 percent Friends and 5 percent Champions.

3. Build a relationship plan. Make it an organizational priority to create more Champions. Conduct a Customer Success Analysis of your high-potential Leaners, Friends, and Champions to keep their business outcomes and personal wins top of mind. Once a month have your customer success team determine what experiences you can deliver to keep Champions acting like Champions, advance Friends into the Champions category, and tip Leaners into Friends. This does not (probably should not) be elaborate, as it is often as simple as letting people know you understand what is important to them and that you care…sending them articles that you know they have an interest in, inviting them to co-present at conferences, introducing them to a colleague who might be of help—anything to demonstrate that you value your relationship with them and are interested in advancing their personal goals.

If customer success is important to you, then creating loyalty will come naturally to you. Forget hocus-pocus, just provide personal focus, and your rewards will accrue and accrue.

James Alexander, EdD
James "Alex" Alexander has a doctorate in Human Resource Development, and after a dozen years in corporate life has spent more than two decades helping product companies build brilliant services businesses. Alex researches, publishes, advises, trains, and speaks on transforming good services organizations into high-performance services machines that create loyal customers, drive sales of services and products, and dominate the competition. He has written five research studies, four books, and over 150 articles, and has spoken, consulted, and trained in 25 countries.


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