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Who Is the King? The Customer or the Employee?

Submitted by  on January 8th, 2010

King and Queen chess piecesMy clients sometimes ask me, who is King, the customer or the employee? They ask, should we pay more attention to pleasing our customers or our employees? Many business commentators ask us to treat the customer as King; to put them first before all other people in our business. In one sense, this seems to make perfect sense. Our customers pay our bills and put profit in our bank account. If we do not bend over backwards to please our customers, they may take their business elsewhere.

We also need to satisfy the interests of our employees, or they may end up walking out the door. Should their interests be subordinated to our customers? Ideally, they should both come first. They are both equally deserving of respect and attention. If your material resources and time are limited – as no doubt they are – you may be wondering on whom you should first focus your efforts. There is a strong case to be made out for concentrating your initial efforts on satisfying your employees.

It is your employees that are working on the front line, dealing directly with your customers. Your employees will deal with your customers in the same way you deal with them. Treat your employees with trust, respect, enthusiasm, and so on, and that is how they will treat your customers. This is a manifestation of the psychological principle of reciprocity. Studies have shown a significant correlation between levels of employee engagement and customer satisfaction. So, make your employees King and they will make your customers King.

What experiences can you share in which treating your employees well payed dividends in higher levels of customer satisfaction and excellent service?

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