Six ways you can earn loyalty
The good news is that it’s a process you control.
July 1, 2013
“Where’s the loyalty?” I’m asked this question often by practitioners when we discuss the increasingly tight labor market, turnover that now occurs even in busy season, clients who price-shop, and more. And I’ve been wondering whether loyalty is lost. Is it a thing of the past, another idea from the good old days that has no place in the new economy or with this next generation?
But then I look at the Millennials with their Apple conviction and Starbucks addiction, which look like “old fashioned” brand loyalty to me. And I manage Millennials as employees and clients (and am raising some, too). I see them exhibit loyalty to one another, to me, to brands, to their schools, and more.
So if loyalty is lost, I believe it isn’t disappearing on its own and it isn’t gone from every place or relationship. Instead, the loss of loyalty seems situational—meaning that when you think it’s missing, then something is causing it to erode. To help stop this loyalty erosion, let’s explore how loyalty is formed and lost and how we can earn it back.
We become loyal when we believe in something or someone. We exhibit loyal behaviors when we trust that the person or thing we’re loyal to will be good to us and will follow through on promises made. We are loyal to people or things that we believe enrich our lives.
When loyalty is lost, it’s because we’ve done something that’s eroded trust. We haven’t put others’ best interests in front of our own. We’ve failed to keep our word or promises, or we haven’t enriched others as much as we have been enriched—meaning we’ve gotten more out of the relationship than they have.
Loyalty is something that is developed—or lost—as a direct result of our own actions, behaviors, and motives. The bad news is that when you’re experiencing a lack of loyalty from others, it’s because of something you’ve done—or not done. The good news is that earning loyalty is within your control. Let’s explore six ways you can earn back loyalty in your accounting practice:
Simon Mainwaring, the New York Times best-selling author, wrote “… the first companies that make an effort to develop an authentic, transparent, and meaningful social contract with their fans and customers will turn out to be the ones that are the most successful in the future. While brands that refuse to make the effort will lose stature and customer loyalty.”
Don’t complain about a loss of loyalty as if it’s a social issue you can’t resolve. Instead, get together with your leadership team and talk about the six things that nurture loyalty. Honestly assess how you’re doing as a firm and individually in each area. Develop a plan to improve in the areas where you have room—and watch the loyalty you experience from others grow.
Jennifer Wilson is a partner and co-founder of ConvergenceCoaching LLC, a leadership and marketing consulting and coaching firm that helps leaders achieve success. Learn more about the company and its services at www.convergencecoaching.com.