The Service Profit ChainAccording to the Harvard Business Review, CEOs “understand that in the new economics of service, frontline workers and customers need to be the center of management concern.” The management mantra of setting profit goals and establishing market share are phrases collecting dust on the shelves of business practices from the 70s and 80s. Today, management teams focus on the Service Profit Chain, knowing full well that the steps to success start with delivering results to the customer and end with profitability and company growth.

The First Link: High Quality Support Services

Companies must first invest in the support services teams that represent their organization. By investing in their employees with, for example, training and development and a positive workplace environment and culture, companies will see stronger employee retention and satisfaction rates. Establishing high quality support services company-wide is the first step in assuring success.

The Second Link: Satisfied, Loyal Employees

Having happy employees at the helm of service departments and in the front lines of customer support ensures stronger brand representation—support staff are brand advocates and when they are happy and confident in their job and abilities, it shows. Especially to the customer!

The Third Link: Value of Services Provided to Customers

There is a reason this business model is analyzed as a chain: the first link leads into the second…but the chain doesn’t stop there! It continues with companies providing quality support to customers. Consistency in service is paramount to business success. Customers who recognize a brand that works hard to ensure their satisfaction are willing to pay more for that brand. External service value grabs major consumer attention. Customer-focused organizations have greater strength as it relates to the Service Profit Chain.

The Fourth Link: Customer Satisfaction

Businesses that target their support services to meet the customers’ needs on a consistent and progressive basis have greater success than businesses that focus on pricing and profit first. In the same study mentioned above, HBR writers found that one loyal customer “is worth more than a hundred price-sensitive, non-loyal customers.” Companies that build relationships with their customers have a much higher customer satisfaction rate than those that don’t.

The Fifth Link: Customer Loyalty

Successful companies consider customers as more than just a notch on the scale of revenue. They say that customers are “apostles,” not just numbers. Loyal customers spread the word to friends and family members about the satisfaction they experienced with a company or brand. They discuss ideas on how things could be improved with those companies and those companies act upon it. The more customers are relied upon for feedback, referrals and suggestions for improvement, the more they will stay loyal to the brand. Customers like being involved and engaged, from the moment they investigate the product to the point of purchase to the use of the product. When companies listen and react to customers, customer loyalty rates increase.

The Sixth Link: Profit and Growth

What all companies strive for: the Sixth Link! How do they get there? Links One through Five! Investing in employee success, customer-focused procedures and policies, customer satisfaction and loyalty—these are the steps companies should take to give them the results they set out to achieve in the first place. Writer Bret Simmons says it well when it comes to companies instilling the Service Profit Chain model: “Improved service is a result of a change in the system used to provide service, and the accompanying rewards for behaviors the new system is designed to encourage.”

Read more: The Importance of a Service Profit Chain

Service Profit Chain: How It Works & Why You Should Care