Who Comes First — Clients or Employees?

We’ve all heard the saying, “The customer is always right.” Sure, without your clients, you have no business — but without employees, you have no one to serve your paying customers. Without them you don’t have a business, either. So, who comes first, especially in a dispute? Your clients or your employees?

A lot of businesses put clients first. I’m going to flip that on its head and tell you flat out: employees come first.

Contrary to popular belief, this won’t be a disaster for your clients? In fact, it’s a bonus for them.

If you put your employees first, it means you respect them, their skills and their time. If you do that, they will take care of your customers every time they’re out in the field. They feel like you care about them and that translates into better service. If you give employees the tools and support they need, they will give customers the tools and support they need.

To keep reading, click here: Who Comes First — Clients or Employees?

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8 thoughts on “Who Comes First — Clients or Employees?

  1. …they will take care of your customers every time *they’re* out in the field

  2. 100% agree – take care of your employees first and they will take care of your customers every time. Give employees adequate training, tools, and resources and your customers win.

  3. Yep. I had a manager that consistently made employees come in on their days off to accommodate customers’ whims, employees had to work unpaid to do specail favors for customers, and the manager bent over backwards to retain problem customers that were rude to staff. Guess who left? All the good employees because they could easily find another job.
    At the same time, the rude customers were regularly causing scenes that scared off the nice, regular customers.
    You have to have a balance to keep the best employees and the best customers.

  4. I recall reading an interview, many years ago, with one of the guys who ran a computer memory company – the one company that completely dominated the industry, that nobody could compete with. He and his partner had just sold the company for some ungodly amount of money – billions – and they had paid out half of that money – their personal money, at that point – in bonuses to employees. The average bonus was a year’s pay. This made it all very newsworthy.

    The interviewer asked a leading question about “the customer is #1,” and the guy answered, “No, the customer is not my #1 concern, he’s my #3 concern. My #1 concern is my employees, and my #2 concern is my vendors. And if I take care of those, then #3 is already taken care of.”

    Or, as the old cliché goes, “80% of your problems are caused by 20% of your customers, and if you get rid of that 20%, you’ll double your profits.”

    The most valuable asset any successful company has is their employees.

  5. I believe that the organisation exists primarily to serve its customers. However, this is not saying that the Customer is always right. In fact, organisations need to work towards creatively meeting the competing and legitimate demands of diverse stakeholders. Yet, other things being equal, the customer comes first – because without the customer, the organisation has no reason to exist.

    The key word is ‘legitimate demands’. Recently, we had an airline in India stand-up for one of its employees – when he was abused and assaulted by a powerful politician. In this case, the airline is correct in protecting and taking a stand on behalf of its employees.

    However, the same organisation has had a long history of pampering and acceding to all kinds of demands by employees – and paying scant attention to its customers. This has led to the organisation incurring severe losses and surviving on government bailouts, while newer customer focused competitors are thriving.

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