Customers Vs Employees: Who comes first?

We are all familiar with the adage: customers come first. Organizations have been swearing by it for years. We exist, after all, because of our customers. And they can make or break us. For most organizations, customers indeed come first.

With the changing nature of the workforce, it’s time to change our views. If it works for our customers, wouldn’t it (shouldn’t it) work for our employees? Time has come to work on enriching the employee experience just as we do the customer experience. It’s all about giving them a feeling of fulfillment and joy. Without that experience – one that evokes an emotion, a memory, some identity – employees will simply view their paycheck as a commodity; no different than bread at the supermarket.

You cannot have employees without customers or customers without employees. It’s like the chicken and egg conundrum: they both came first. Customers and employees are inextricably linked. Burning your employees out at the expense of customers’ satisfaction, as an example, throws that balance out of whack; its a losing proposition that you cannot sustain.

Mature organizations have taken note of this shift in the pendulum, and are implementing corrective measures. We also see this in the 1 Million benchmarks that QuestionPro has collected from organizations across the globe. These benchmarks show us – among other things – how certain employee experiences impact things like Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) (a measure of how willing your workforce is to recommend people they respect to your organization for employment). The one behavior that has the biggest impact? When employees feel organizations understand their unique needs and respond to them (i.e. employees come first). And the one behavior that has the smallest impact? Customers and stakeholders influencing what we do (i.e. customers come first). Hmmmmmm. Interesting…

So you’re telling me that if I put the employee first it will have a bigger impact on their intent to stay, willingness to put forth discretionary effort, and the degree to which they’ll promote our brand? Yep. And you’re telling me that if we put customers first, it has very little impact on those things? Yep. Btw, you can learn more about these benchmarks and findings here.

So what does this mean for organizations? Does it mean they should think about their employees and not their customers? It does not.

If you’re interested in learning more about how QuestionPro’s Workforce tools help organizations manage employee experience and culture in meaningful ways, experience our Workforce platform for free.

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