Increasing customer loyalty and customer intimacy by improving the behavior of employees

A.A. (André) de Waal, B.I.J.M. van der Heijden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose: One of the most important characteristics of high-performance organizations is that these organizations always aim at servicing their customers as best as possible. In practice, this means that the employees of these organizations have to behave toward customers in such a way that these customers are not only fully satisfied but also become loyal to the organization. The purpose of this paper is to look at the concrete behaviors that are needed to create this customer loyalty.

Design/methodology/approach: From a literature review the items that potentially are of influence on creating customer loyalty and customer intimacy were identified, based on a previous validated questionnaire while adding additional items. These items were subsequently validated in practice with a questionnaire distributed among people who are in daily life regular customers of organizations.

Findings: The research results show that there are eight behavioral factors of importance to create customer loyalty and customer intimacy: first, service quality delivered by employees; second, capability of employees to deliver high quality; third, empathy of employees toward customers’ wishes and needs; fourth, understanding of employees of customers’ needs; fifth, responsiveness of employees toward the needs of customers; sixth, courtesy of employees toward customers; seventh, service manner of employees; and finally, trust customers place in employees.

Research limitations/implications: The implication of this research is that, now that the behavioral factors are known, an organization can make sure its employees focus on displaying these behaviors toward customers consistently over time, in order to make sure customers will experience the organization as a high-performance organization and will feel loyalty toward the organization

Originality/value: The research described in this paper adds to the literature in the sense that it encompasses previous research into once item list and specifically looks at behaviors that create excellent service and thereby customer loyalty and customer intimacy, both concepts that go beyond the much researched topic of customer satisfaction.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)492-510
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Strategy and Management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 21 Nov 2016


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