Good customer service is critical to any business.
It is important to respond to customer needs, but customer purpose
goes beyond this. It comes from a deep understanding of the company’s value promise. Companies and employees
who are customer purposed proactively consider how any task delivers value to the customer. Hidden leaders who
demonstrate customer purpose have five key traits:
1. Enthusiasm for the work. Hidden leaders have a passion for their work because they understand how it benefits
the customer. This creates an energetic environment and builds enthusiasm and a positive attitude among
2. Balanced skill/communications proficiency. Hidden leaders have the technical expertise to get their jobs done and
the communications skills to ask good questions and relay information to the customer.
3. A sense of urgency. This is not just moving fast, it is taking action on behalf of the customer and not stopping until
the customer is satisfied. Hidden leaders with a sense of urgency capitalize on market opportunities, address
customer needs, and embrace chances to improve.
4. An owner’s mind-set. Hidden leaders take ownership of their jobs and their organizations’ successes. They define
how they do their jobs based on strategies outlined by their organizations, and they recognize that they make a
5. An ability to lead change. Organizations can get complacent. Hidden leaders understand that change is vital to
meeting customer needs and addressing market challenges. They challenge the status quo to better serve
customers, and their excellent communication skills allow them to collaborate on changes with coworkers and
customers to gain acceptance.
Hidden leaders are naturally customer purposed, but managers must ensure that their company cultures support
them and allow others to develop this skill. Companies can develop customer purpose through two key steps:
*Redefine the definition of customer. Leaders should remember that the customer is the person who pays the bills.
Some companies use the term “internal customer” to remind employees to treat one another with respect. This
should not distract them from the main goal and focus, which is pleasing the external customer.
*Cascade the value promise. Employees at all levels should understand the company’s value to the paying customer.
Each employee should also understand what role his or her job plays in the strategic goals of the company. A clear
message regarding the company’s value promise should be delivered through different media and contexts. These
communications should be timed to support one another and be understood at all levels