The Customer Comes First… Or Do They?

“If you want people in the stores to take care of the customers, you have to make sure you’re taking care of the people in the stores.”

Sam Walton – Founder of Walmart

For many of us, the above statement would seem to be the complete opposite to the golden rule we have ingrained into us for the entirety of our careers—the customer comes first. 

Countless leaders would advocate that the key to business success is a consistent flow of satisfied consumers, dedicated to purchasing the products and services a company offers, and encouraging the practice of repeat purchases. 

However, we are going to shed some light on leaders who argue that to achieve customer happiness, priority should be placed on the people that deliver the services to customers: your team members. In this post, we‘re going to be making the case for why the customer should come second and where business leaders should shift their focus to in order to create success.

A simple philosophy that many successful leaders, including Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, follow today is ‘the customer comes second, your people come first’.

This is where the business success cycle comes in, a model that illustrates where leaders need to invest their energy and focus in order to create great success and results for the business. Many successful businesses today are where they are because they prioritise customer happiness. 

Of course, customers should be placed top of the priority list as their role can decide if a business is a success or failure, based on their dedication to a company—however, success also relies on the quality of service they receive as well as how engaged your team members are, who actually deliver the service.

Your New Business Philosophy

A new philosophy we encourage you to embrace in order to attain business success is investing energy in your team, the people that make up your company. 

The key to attaining consumer satisfaction starts by transferring your focus to the people that face your customers, who are a walking representation of your business. The reason for this is, by placing your efforts on your team first, they start to feel valued, cared for and supported. Your team become proud to work for your business and in return, by equipping them with the tools needed to perform a great job they are going to be happy and work with a smile, passing on that happiness and energy to your customers.

Devoting efforts towards enhancing the health and happiness of your team is an untapped business opportunity for many that has a flow on impact to customer satisfaction. 

Simply put, ‘happy people make happier customers’ in fact a survey by Gallup ‘The State of the American Workplace’reported that team members who are engaged and driven are more likely to boost customer relationships, resulting in a 20% growth in sales. 

If energy is placed on team engagement, this can help foster company loyalty and in doing so, build trust and respect between yourself and your team. Team members who feel valued naturally would want to replicate the care they receive towards the customer and create strong relationships and when well trained to build those connections, will benefit the business.

Your team comes first, your customers come second. So what does this exactly mean in terms of where you should be putting your energy to succeed? The answer comes down to the culture of the organisation. Success relies on your company culture and a ‘people first culture’ is now proving to be a must-have in businesses in order to retain talent, gain a positive reputation, increase productivity and performance. 

The principle of taking care of your team—and therefore your customer—is at the forefront for creating a great place to work, where individuals are valued, active, and growing. All efforts placed on what happens inside your business, is ultimately felt on the outside by your customers.

Have you adopted a team-focussed culture within your business? What practices do you have in place that create a great environment to work in? Feel free to share your strategies and practices in the comments below!

Our Partner and Director at Corporate Edge, John Colbert discusses the importance of focusing energy on team growth and development to achieve business success. Take three minutes to watch and feel free to share this with colleagues or anyone you know who might get value from this. 

The vital role leaders play in creating a great environment for success is an area we expand on in our ‘Four Reasons for Poor Performance’ short course. This program takes you through the four reasons why a team member may not be performing at their best, and what you can do as a leader to turn that situation around. 

So if your focus is on fostering a strong culture within your business and improving team productivity, enrol through this link here.


More Resources

Shopping cart0
There are no products in the cart!