Great article from the folks at MarketingProfs, The 5 Stages of Customer Advocacy.
The five steps, summarized here, offer good strategies for engaging and developing your customer advocates, who will be your best salespeople! Number 4, the Transitioning Advocate, is important because you’re oftentimes faced with one or two customers who bear the brunt of customer references, testimonials, etc. and need to be considered for extra special treatment. Read the full article in the link above, but here are the five stages they define:
Stage 1: The Engaged Customer
Customers in this stage have had multiple positive experiences with your company, evidenced by repeat purchases, positive outcomes with customer support, and a relationship that spans a reasonable length of time.
Stage 2: The Enthusiast
Customers move to the Enthusiast stage once the value exchanged between you two becomes uneven (in their favor) so that they feel the need to share their experience with their friends and colleagues in an effort to balance the uneven value exchange. You’re going to want to use social listening tools to seek out (and respond to) those conversations.
Stage 3: The Early-Stage Advocate
Customers entering this stage have started to become more vocal about your brand. They may blog about you, leave reviews, and mention you in online conversations. If part of your “nudge” program in the above stage included “swag,” then early-stage advocates might be seen sharing photos of that swag online.
Stage 4: The Transitioning Advocate
Customers entering this stage have been advocates for a while, and they are getting to the point I talked about above, where the value exchange between you and them is becoming uneven again.
Stage 5: The Full-Blown Advocate
At some point, the customer advocate may make the decision that aligning themselves fully with your brand is the right option for them, and they’ll go all out to advocate your company as a “superfan,” brand champion, or whatever else you want to call it.