Who matters more: customers or employees?
Both customers and employees are extremely important, but which matters more? We asked business leaders and HR professionals this question for their thoughts on the question. Learn how nine experts balance priorities to determine how to refocus your business’s attention on what really matters.
- Show Up For Your Employees
- Inception Point Of Impact
- Happy Workers, Happy Customers
- Right From The Start
- Both Matter the Same
- Mind Your Funnel
- Without Customers There Is No Business
- Apply The Golden Rule
- Make People Your Business
Show Up For Your Employees
It’s always difficult for me to say that one stakeholder matters more than another—for example, who matters more: customers or employees? They both matter to me, and it’s not a competition. True business leadership serves all entities in the ecosystem.
As a leader in my organization, I feel a responsibility to my employees first and foremost. Having happy, motivated, and engaged employees ensure that our customers are well taken care of. Communicating the importance of providing value to customers through listening is also key to delivering on the mission.
When a business supports and shows up for the employees in that business, the attitude is contagious, and in turn, the employees show up in the best ways to support the customers. It becomes a win-win-win (customers, employees, and the business), and everyone ends up feeling valued.
Yolande Grill, InfoSol Inc.
Inception Point Of Impact
To answer this question in a meaningful way, let’s look at the inception point of impact. We’ve all experienced a grumpy employee at the DMV. Naturally, I don’t know one person that will wake up excited to go there. Placing positive energy into employees moves positive energy into the customer-company relationship. If we consider causation, employees’ well-being trickles to the customer. While I can’t say one matters more, I can say employees are the inception point of company impact and that matters.
Laurel Elders, The Institute for Integrative Coach Training
Happy Workers, Happy Customers
I agree with Discount Tires’ philosophy of focusing on their employees. Happy workers will generate happy customers. For both customers and employees, feeling respected and cared for is essential.
Elizabeth Castillo, Arizona State University
Right From The Start
Employees and talent are the lifeblood of your business. If you don’t have it right from the start, it’s difficult to sustain and grow a business. One of my favorite quotes from Richard Branson is, “The way you treat your employees is the way they will treat your customers.” It’s not about who matters most; it’s about what you can control—which is making the best product you can make to delight your customer. I tend to think if you deeply care about your employees, you also care about your customer. They go hand in hand.
Jenn Christie, Markitors
Both Matter The Same
You can’t have one without the other when it comes to customers and employees. Neither should take preference as they are equally important for the success of an organization. The reasoning behind this is employees provide the service to the customers, so you want to be sure your employees are happy as they interact directly with your revenue stream. Customers matter, of course, as they are the ones funding your company to stay in business. They are a symbiotic relationship, so as an organization, they both should be high priorities.
Mark Smith, University of Advancing Technology
Mind Your Funnel
You can chicken and egg this all day, but in truth, customer and employee acquisition follow a similar funnel pattern because they are equally as important. Sure, that first customer is critical, but as a business grows beyond invoice #1, the mission becomes onboarding the best possible employees and customers while letting go of those that aren’t a right fit.
Tim Toterhi, Plotline Leadership
Without Customers There Is No Business
Without taking the customer into account, there is no business. There is no audience to channel your vision towards. There is no feedback to measure your results. Hence, the customer response is the most valuable insight into your company’s success. With that said, ensuring you can treat your customers with the best service and most refined product takes loyal employees who are engaged and operating at their fullest capacity. Being mindful of their work environment, showing appreciation, and treating them the way you would a customer will, in turn, work to everyone’s benefit and the success of the company.
Dan Potter, CRAFTD
Apply The Golden Rule
Both your employees and customers matter and I believe that if we would just apply the Golden Rule to everyone, we would be worlds ahead. We create division with inclusive groups, implying some people matter more than others. You cannot have customers without great employees, but you’ll lose customers if they aren’t treated right. Treat everyone as you would like to be treated: with dignity and respect.
Lorraine Bossé-Smith, Concept One LLC
Make People Your Business
In order to have a successful business, you need to have the right employees to attract the customers you need. Employees make up how your company runs, and without the right people, you will have poor service. Great employees will always provide for your business.
Loren Howard, Prime Plus Mortgages