Who comes first, the employee or the customer?
I was visiting a client last week and we started talking about the recent trend in customer experience which suggests that customers should come first over everything else. Over profits and stakeholders, over processes and policies and over employees. Although this sort of thinking has the right intentions, I think it’s a little misguided and could do more harm than good in the long run.
While giving your customers a great experience is a fundamental requirement of any business, if you neglect your employees how long will they continue to give this great experience? A great experience for the customers starts with a great experience for the employees.
It’s a word that can strike either excitement or fear in the heart. That’s because many business leaders are being thrust into a new world. A world that doesn’t make them feel brave. A world built on technology.
In April 2012 The Economist ran a front cover feature that talked of a Third Industrial Revolution, on how manufacturing is going digital. If we pause for a moment and consider what that means in practice, the profound shift that is underway: advanced manufacturing, 3D printing, cloud computing, social. This is not only industrial change, it is cultural change. On a global level.