Most of us have heard – the customer comes first. Many believe it, but is it the best policy? What if you changed the equation to Your Employee comes first. If you did that on a consistent basis, would the employee then treat all customers as important and be able and willing to go the extra mile to ensure customers have a long relationship with your company. Hal Rosenbluth does and he wrote the book The Customer Comes Second published by HarperBusiness, NY, 2002.
In a full economy, attracting and retaining people are extremely important. How happy are the people who work for the company? Many companies are in the service business, the only thing you really sell is your service and the easiest method Mr. Rosenbluth believes to ensure people do great service is hire nice people. No one has a monopoly on being nice, and being nice does not mean you do not make great deals of money, it means have a long term view to sell for the company to have repeat business. For your customers being served by nice people can be a welcome change. In the movie Glengary Glenross the Alex Baldwin character says ABC or Always Be Closing; either bite or be eaten; the lowest sales is out the door. The tactics work but maybe not for a long time. If the long term perspective is the one you want the company to have, perhaps it is better to go with nice people to start. The proof of the pudding is always a downturn or disaster happening, how will people react? Will customers rally to help you? or will they find alternatives?
Mr. Rosenbluth has many ideas to try to implement the ideas but one of his most important was Mr. Rosenbluth’s grandfather started the travel business and at one time it was 95% personal, 5% corporate. As the travel agency business changed to 95% corporate many things had to change to stay in business. To continually find value for the corporate customer or to help them save money and time on their travel. There were no easy answers, but it was a lot easier with a good culture and nice people.
Linking to dividend paying stocks, 99% of us like to deal with nice people. It is easier to be nice if the company is making money. If the company is making money and paying a dividend and the people are not nice, then they had better have a monopoly. Once that changes, then you have to find alternatives quickly.
There are more questions than answers, till the next time – to raising questions,