The Loyalty Ladder – Creating advice relationships that last

It’s the holy grail of any business, having a base of clients who are loyal to your advice business.

These would be clients who:

  1. Are satisfied with what you do for them
  2. Continue to purchase your advisory services year after year, and
  3. Would be willing to refer you to family, friends and work colleagues.

Loyalty though isn’t just what they feel and do, it’s also what they think about you. They will make these judgements about you based upon your reliability, responsiveness, trustworthiness, empathy and your business tangibles (well presented offices, well dressed staff, website).

Is loyalty an opportunity you’re missing?

Many advice business owners don’t think about looking at their client base in terms of loyalty. For those who don’t, it’s a missed opportunity. For example, a loyal client base lowers new client acquisition costs as referrals are one of the most cost effective sources of new client business that you could find.

So thinking about what loyalty is, and how it might benefit your advice business, how do you measure it? The easiest way to measure loyalty is to ask. With online survey tools now available, conducting a survey has never been easier.

What questions should you ask?

Questions you might ask, using a five or ten-point scale might include:

  1. Are you satisfied with the advice and services we provide to you?
  2. How likely is it you would recommend our advice business to a friend or colleague?
  3. How satisfied are you with our reliability in delivering advice and service to you?
  4. How satisfied are you with our responsiveness in delivering advice and service to you?
  5. How satisfied are you with our trustworthiness of our advisers and staff in delivering advice and service to you?
  6. How satisfied are you with our empathy/relationship skills in delivering advice and service to you?
  7. How satisfied are you with the visual appearance of our offices and staff presentation?

These kinds of questions will provide any advice business with a great insight into what their clients are thinking and feeling about their business. These questions could also be paired with an additional question. How could our advice business could improve in each of these areas? Of course the number of years a client has been a client, client concerns/complaints and client exits can also be used to measure an aspect of client loyalty.

Are you shy about asking? Don’t be.

Without a doubt, there’s usually some hesitancy in doing a customer loyalty and satisfaction survey, especially if a business has never done one before. If your business has a marketing goal of creating a loyal client base, the benefits will outweigh any perceived risks of negative feedback. Think of it like a waiter asking you during a restaurant meal how the food is. It’s an opportunity to give feedback and allows the restaurant to fix any issues. If the waiter doesn’t ask, issues aren’t fixed, and the customer may never be seen again.

Clients mostly are glad to be asked to participate too. Of course if they don’t want to they don’t have to. Making the offer to participate is a survey demonstrates that you don’t take them for granted and signals to them your advice business cares about what you do. Also think about how you can build this into your every day business process. Be like the restaurant waiter and ask ‘How did you find the advice meeting today?’. An insightful conversation can be started with a very short question like that one. It also provides you with the opportunity to talk about the advice process and how it can help them achieve their goals.


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