I was asked a great question over the weekend.

Someone asked me how they, as the leader of an organization could influence customer loyalty, and encourage their teams to invest in building great client relationships – both of which will have a dramatic impact on the long-term success of any organization.

After all, we all know it’s loyal customers who often generate the most revenue, and we need to continuously engage our customers to help them become “loyal.”

But even I was a bit surprised with my immediate response to his question. I said, “Do you treat employees like your best clients?”

Let me explain.

When you think about it, if we want our employees and those on the front lines to invest in the success of our organization, then we need them to buy into the vision and long-term success of the company, and our goals, and our key objectives.

We need to treat those relationships with the same level of gravitas we give to our clients.

When I thought more about my response over the weekend, I came up with a few key areas of improvement and questions to ask yourself.

1. We talk about the importance of intimately knowing your ideal customer, but how well do you know your employees? Do you know their challenges, struggles, and what keeps them up at night? Do you know their expectations? Do you know what their day-to-day experience is like?

2. Are you constantly nurturing your employees the same way you nurture your best clients? (I don’t mean Yoga classes and free massages at lunch) Instead, what I mean is, are they being heard and given the ability to contribute? Are their opinions valued and acted upon or just hidden in a shoebox under your desk?

3. Do you know the different strengths and weaknesses of those on the front lines? Try this: Experience the company as your customers do – from start to finish. If you need to, get outside help for this. Discover if your team is working together. Are their employees who need encouragement, additional training, accountability, or outside help?

If you want to achieve great results, then you need to pay attention to your most-valuable relationships. Your team needs to be constantly engaged and heard.

Today’s Key Learning Point: As a leader, you need to model the type of behavior and service you expect from your employees. Most people think customer loyalty and customer retention is something that we do to keep the customer after the sale is made.

Wrong. Customer loyalty starts LONG before you’ve ever made the sale.