Why Choose One Over Another? How Being Both Employee And Customer Focused Helps Your Growth In The Long Run
For some, the school of thought is that to be successful there has to be a dominating focus on one party over another: the employees or the customers. On the one hand, people feel that without the employees, there’d be no business to operate; while the other side believes that at the end of the day the focus must be on the group ultimately handing over the money.
Neither side is wrong because frankly both are essential to the success of the company- but what if both could be equally important? Perhaps, that’s the recipe for true success- and why the companies that have already come to that understanding are seeing the biggest returns.
They don’t say, “follow the money” without reason; paying customers are necessary for any business to not only stay afloat but also to grow. With a focus on the customer, companies can help to design their products and services to reflect the core needs of their audiences. For David Starr, Vice President of Commercial Real Estate Group at Northern Trust Corporation, it goes beyond the basic needs however, “we believe that taking care of your customers means going a step further- we’re not here to do just the bare minimum.”
On the flip side of the culture coin, a focus on the employees helps to support the brand you want your customers to feel in their daily interactions with the company. “We aim to treat our employees the same way we treat our customers because when you invest in your employees it not only gives them a reason to stick around but your customers will sense it also.”
“When I first started with Northern Trust it was evident that they wanted me to understand the culture inside out. I had almost 30 coffee meetings with other current employees so that they could give me a taste of what to expect- all of which was within the first month,” Starr explains. Additionally it seems that they have a firm understanding of what truly matters to their employees- and they work hard to support it, “work-life balance is paramount around here and our leadership team understands that we must value our people, their families and the various lifestyles they have.”
To Starr’s earlier point, the employees that work in companies with cultures rich in integrity, respect and quality leadership are often the best employees to have on the front line interacting with the customers. In the same ways that unhappy employees impact a guest’s experience, a valued employee can easily make a one-time customer into one for life.
In addition to being better at customer service, satisfied and engaged employees are:
Ultimately, a focus on both customers and employees works hand in hand- and without one or the other companies will never see the growth they are aiming for. If your culture is trying to strike a balance between the two, keep in mind Starr’s earlier advice: treat your employees as you would your customers- there’s no doubt that they will pass along the values, respect and genuine happiness to your customers themselves.
Kevin Bugielski is the Marketing Manager for Victory Lap, a purpose-driven startup changing the sales game. Avid Snapchatter, SoulCycle lover, newfound runner, but ultimately, a foodie.