The tradition of saying that customers are king has been over-emphasized at different levels across all sectors of businesses all over the world. In fact, it has become a cliché and a means to exploit business owners with some scrupulous customers.
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Are customers truly the king or the employees? I think this calls for a debate.
Come to think of it, what is a product without raw materials, what is a movement without mobile devices, what is an entrepreneur without ideas, what is a company without the employees? Over the years, in a quest to satisfy customers, many organizations have given little or no attention to their staff welfare.
A happy staff equals productiveness which in turn equals happy customers. A tree can not make the forest mean that as an entrepreneur you can not work in all your business sections by yourself hence the need to employ competent hands to occupy those positions or offices. However, no matter how competent and talented your employees are if their frame of mind is distorted due to late salary payment or other external factors it will lead to low productivity.
A short story, recently, I and my colleagues in the office who are bread lovers like me as usual, visited Spar to get our loaf of bread. The first thing we observed was that the bread aroma was not same as before. It was not the aroma that normally entices us and triggers our hunger for the bread. Secondly, we noticed that all the bread are browner than usual. Thirdly, after taking a bite, we realized that the taste was quite different from Spar bread we know. However, as customers who wished to be heard and did not want to standby and watch our beloved Spar bread lose its glory, we decided to revisit the Spar outlet to present our observations but the staff’s body reaction and response only screamed one thing, “we don’t care!” and that begs the question, what could have transpired between Spar and their staff? Could it be, late salary payment? On the staff side, could it be due to the hardship in the country? As an organization when your staff are sad, your product and customer service quality depreciates and that equals to unhappy customers.
In a country like Nigeria, the need for organizations to add staff well-being to their list of top priorities cannot be over emphasized. Especially during this trying time. Staff physical and mental well-being should be one of the top priorities of all organizations in Nigeria to maintain product and service quality and consistency. Staff’s good physical and mental state would foster customers happiness.
Investing in Employee Development and Support
To achieve a workforce that feels valued and prioritized, organizations must invest in employee development and support. Providing ongoing training programs, opportunities for growth, and a clear path for advancement is vital in cultivating a sense of achievement and satisfaction among employees. Offering competitive compensation, benefits and work-life balance initiatives also demonstrates a commitment to employee well-being. If possible provide counselling or create an Open Meeting Hour where employees can converge and be vulnerable about work and life in general to foster empathy and support for each other.
Creating a Positive Organizational Culture
Leadership plays a pivotal role in shaping the company culture that prioritizes employees. Executives and managers who embrace an employee-centric mindset foster a culture of trust, open communication, and respect. Regular feedback, recognition, and empowerment are crucial tools that allow employees to excel and contribute meaningfully to the organization’s goals. By creating a positive and supportive work environment, employees will feel valued, connected, and motivated to go above and beyond for both fellow colleagues and customers.
In today’s competitive business landscape, it is vital for organizations to reframe their perspectives and prioritize the well-being of their employees. While customers remain vital to the success of any business, adopting an “employees are king, not customers” approach ensures that the workforce is empowered, engaged, and inspired to deliver exceptional services and products. By investing in employee well-being and fostering a positive organizational culture, companies can drive customer satisfaction, loyalty, and ultimately achieve long-term success. After all, happy employees are the backbone of thriving businesses.