Executive Coaching

The customer should never have been king


You must have heard that the customer is king! I remember receiving training on total customer satisfaction and I’m sure the cubicles of dilbert land have been thoroughly hosed down with such nonsense.

Of course in such organisations we were constantly exhorted to work harder, show the right attitude, etc. One day, due to our appalling delivery performance, one of my customer service team was taking a particularly personally abusive call from an extremely angry customer. Unable to take any more abuse, the young lady concerned, one of my best, put the phone down on the customer.

The angry customer phoned the company president. The angry president phoned the VP for customer service. The angry VP ordered me to discipline my team member or take the consequences. The customer was always right, regardless of how they behaved. It took two years of hard work to fix delivery performance. Ironic when we discovered that many of the problems were caused by management interfering in the jobs of the people who were supposed to running the day to day operations.

The fact is, that unless the company looks after its employees, they will not look after the customers and therefore the customers will not look after the company by continuing to give it their business. The customer is therefore not king, your employees are. Treat them royally and they will do the same for your customers.

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