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Article -> A Map for Leadership

Date Added: December 2005

For an organization to receive superior financial performance, it must create customer loyalty. Customer loyalty is one of the greatest assets a company can have. For organizations to keep and grow loyal customers, three key success factors that need to occur1 .

  • Create a vision
  • Coordinate planning
  • Reinforce behaviors

Creating a vision relates to what Stephen Covey2 referred to as "beginning with the end in mind." Firms need to have a road map to help them look into the future and refocus their priorities. Their vision needs to be attainable for all employees to be successful in achieving positive results. All levels of the organization should be involved in creating the vision because employees have the greatest effect on customers. A clear vision helps organizations gain profitability and enhance customer loyalty.

Coordinating planning ensures cross-functional alignment to the customer loyalty priorities. All departmental functional areas must work and communicate together to be aligned and focused in the same direction. Friction may occur across departments as alignment occurs, which is O.K. The result is an approach that focuses on the corporate objectives versus a silo-approach on individual departments.

Companies must identify and prioritize their loyal customers, supported by a Voice of the Customer process, to achieve a customer-centric organization. By focusing on loyal customers, employees can reach new heights for their productivity thereby increasing company profitability and reducing costs.

Reinforcing behaviors provides communication, education, and training for employees to introduce the skills, knowledge, and competencies to build customer loyalty. Some companies struggle with reinforcing behaviors because they fail to recognize the changes in the corporate environment. Companies must consider the behavior of their employees to implement this vision into the market. Leaders must have ongoing communication with their employees because they are constantly interacting with customers.

Positive employee behavior leads to increased revenues. Ongoing communication and a productive working environment lead employees to increase productivity and succeed in maintaining and growing loyal customers for the organization.

1 Crosby, Lawrence. "Loyalty Leadership." Marketing Management. July/August 2005:12-13.
2 Covey, Stephen R. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Simon and Schuster, New York. 1989.

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