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Friday, September 30, 2022

Lean Quote: The Secret to Delighting Customer is Putting Employees First

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

"Your number one customers are your people. Look after employees first and then customers last.  —  Ian Hutchinson

Of course, the customer remains king, but employees are the ambassadors of a brand. Whether the employee approaches the customer with a smile or with a sigh makes a big difference in the customer experience. After all, the employee is supposed to put the customer first, but if this employee is not happy with his or her work, this will inevitably reflect on the customer.

The 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.

When you take care of your employees, they will naturally take care of your customers. Rather than making your customers the top priority in your company, make your employees the focus. An employee who is satisfied and sees how much you value their work will, in turn, take care of your customers.

Conversely, if you put your customers above your employees, you might wind up hurting those customers in the long run. Employees who see that you care more about the clients they serve than you do about them will not provide the same level of customer service. They will cut corners and care less. Make sure your employees are happy and provided with the tools they need to succeed and the rest will take care of itself.

Work on your employee experience, and those employees will be able to better deliver a quality customer experience.

Putting employees first has great value that cannot be overstated.

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