Who are the ‘True Believers’ in your client base?


We all know that today’s business environments and therefore workplaces are experiencing change at unprecedented rates – digital explosions, automation, customer expectations, the need for speed – you’ve heard it all before. Right now, job roles are being challenged, company cultures are being attacked and management is under the microscope like never before.

All is not doom and gloom.   There are businesses thriving in this environment.   What makes them so special?   They are businesses who prioritised their strategies around identifying and improving customer and staff engagement.

The more you delve into this subject the easier it is to identify the relationships between engaged employees, engaged customers and the ultimate effect that both of these have on your bottom line. Understanding engagement means being able to measure it, being able to benchmark it for future improvement, and then implement strategies and tools for improving it.   I touched on employee engagement measurement in my article titled How Engaged is your Team?’ where I introduced you to the Gallup Q12 survey.

Additionally, many of you would be aware of Reicheld’s Net Promoter Score which identifies how likely your customers are to recommend or promote your business.   Basically, it measures the ratio between 2 groups of people… those who advocate for your business and those who are critical of your business, which when combined gives you either a positive or negative score and it is this ‘net’ score that becomes your benchmark.   Reicheld maintained that this is the best correlation between customer behaviour and the potential or likelihood of a business to grow.

There has been some criticism of the NPS (Net Promotor Score) as the best measure of Customer engagement because it only asks one question and unless the surveyor (presumably the business) asks further follow up questions it is limited in its applications. Follow up questions tend to end up being qualitative and generally are hard to measure. Therefore benchmarking and the monitoring of improvement strategies using this metric alone becomes difficult.

Recently Gallup have entered this market with new survey results which mirror to some extent their employee engagement surveys for which they have become famous.   A 2016 research paper and writings since then from Gallup suggest there are 3 groups of customers (much like the employees)

  • the actively engaged customer,
  • the non-engaged customer and
  • the actively dis-engaged customer.

What their research is showing is that purchasing decisions are more and more based on emotional states, in particular the connections and experiences that customers form with your people. Gallup have named the actively engaged customers the “true believers”, saying that they have a belief that they cannot live without your business, and their behaviours relative to your business reflect this belief. They don’t haggle over price, they recommend you to their friends and contacts, talk about your company and use you whenever they can. Conversely, customers who hate your company, are actively dis-engaged, and are stopping others from doing business with you by the things they do and say. Those in the middle are indifferent or passively using your services but are not emotionally connected.

This new research is powerful because it gives us an evidence-based reasoning for what everyone is talking about.i This is the fact that in service based businesses relationships count, and count ‘big-time’. Gallup’s findings indicate that there are 3 critical items which correlate into the Customer engagement measure.   These are best summed up in the following 3 statements:

  1. X (the business) always delivers on what they promise,
  2. I feel proud to be an X customer
  3. X is the perfect company for people like me.

Of course, it stands to reason that those companies – the elusive X – with high percentages of actively engaged customers also have high percentages of actively engaged employees.   The two naturally go hand in hand, but there’s no guessing which one comes first.

I know that businesses everywhere are looking for strategies to stay competitive and grow – my tip from this is that there is a growing body of evidence around Customer and Employee engagement that you would be foolhardy to ignore.

If you’d like more information on how to measure, monitor and improve your staff engagement and watch the flow on effect with your customers, then contact me and we can discuss the options available.

I look forward to hearing from you.


Rose Kelly


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