Customers or Employees ? Maintain a Balance
As leaders, it’s hard to make a clear choice between your customers and your employees, but what modern leaders need to understand is that it doesn’t really have to be a choice. While it is true that the idea of being in business is to serve your customers as a priority, one doesn’t necessarily have to move away from that or even think of putting customer satisfaction even a tiny bit lower on your priority list because employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction are not mutually exclusive at all! Look at it this way – if your employees are unhappy or let’s just say, not very satisfied or motivated with the way things are, will they be able to fully and brilliantly contribute towards customer satisfaction through whatever service it is that you offer? Absolutely not! Happy employees are productive employees – true leaders understand that and believe that the growth of their sub-ordinates directly influences the growth of the organization and the business that is brought in.
It’s a circle, after all, and not a see-saw situation at all (as most leaders like to see it). It’s a struggle to keep your clients satisfied if your employees are dissatisfied in their jobs, the ultimate goal of which is customer satisfaction. On the other hand, unsatisfied or upset customers either keep coming back with complaints to increase the workload of your employees, or end up leaving never to come back, making things more difficult for your staff, and sometimes even activating lay-off situations. So, instead of running between picking either of your most significant stakeholders’ interests one at a time where the other is neglected, put them in the same loop – a loop that will self-sustain itself once you’ve established it.
It is always easier to start internally, because contrary to what you may feel as a leader, employees are much easier to satisfy as compared to customers. Salaries and designations are not all that matter to employees – what they expect is more (which is actually not much for you in terms of giving or doing), more appreciation, more acknowledgement, more creative freedom, more work-life balance, and most importantly more respect in general. Clients, on the other hand, are way more demanding (and they are certainly in the position to be), so they need to be dealt with care and more solid deliverables. You’ll find that these deliverables are easier to fulfil after you’ve sorted your workplace environment out internally. Employee happiness will translate into customer satisfaction which in turn will motivate employees to delight them further, impressing and retaining customers no end.