…. maybe not.
It almost feels like it comes down from up high that the customer is always right, but should we really embrace that notion?
I was asked recently, “Who is more important to a business, your customers or your employees?”
Not an easy question, as we clearly need both to be successful. However, when asked a different way, I think it’s a much easier question … “If one of your customers treated one of your employees extremely rudely, whose side would you take?”
In that instance (and I’ve dealt with it a few times in my career) once the facts have come out, it’s a pretty easy choice for me … I chose to defend our employee.
Not all customers are created equal and while they are important, it’s also extremely important that they maintain a professional interaction with all of our employees, not just the ones at the top of our organization. Having your team know that you will defend them against rude or unprofessional customers is an important factor in their trust in you as their leader.
Hopefully, you won’t be in a situation where you’d need to pick sides between your customers and your employees, but considering, in advance, what standards you’ll hold your customers to can be just as important as the standards you’ll hold your employees to as they do their jobs.
It can be easy to allow for questionable behavior from especially big customers, but we’d all do well to consider the long-term impact on our team in those situations.
Having a team that knows you’ve got their back and refuse to let them be treated poorly, especially when there are big dollars at stake, will go a long way towards building a team that will gladly follow you anywhere.