Sam Walton, an American great entrepreneur and the founder of the Wal-Mart stores in USA once said “There is only one boss.The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else”.
I would like to share this quote with all the service people today. For me, this quote should be a pre requisite known to every contact person both in the private and public sectors.
Many at times; we tend to forget the importance of Costumers. We see them as a “burden”, an “extra job” or even an “interruption” in our work. We also see them as small, unimportant, ugly, unattractive and insignificant.
But the truth here is that whether that costumer is a driver, a director, a cleaner etc…, he/she is still important to our businesses. You are in that business of yours because that “small and unattractive” costumer has decided to patronize your shop.
This Customer is actually the one who pays your salaries. You owe him/her your lifestyle, our car everything you are able to buy.
When you enter some shops in town; the look you are given as a customer simply says “why did you come here?” or “Why didn’t you go and bother the people in the next shop?”
Your boss may be that manager who pays your salary but what you need to know is that your salary does not come from your manager’s pockets. It comes from the CUSTOMER.
The person you consider your boss and to whom you give the most of respect is just handling the money the “real boss” leaves behind for you. He is also paid by the customer.
The costumer is actually the one who signs your paycheck and who ultimately is your boss.
Some time ago, I was sitting in front of a service person when his immediate manager called him. He simply left without uttering a word of apology and I had to wait there for more than 15mn has his comment when he came back?
“That was the boss who called me; he doesn’t like to be kept on hold”.
I have often seen service people neglecting customers in front of them and showing more respect and care to their supervisors and managers.
We also see lots of discrimination in the way customers are treated. Many customers are given value depending on their dress code, their statutes, the big cars they drive.
Many are belittle because of their physical appearance. Have you already experienced the discrimination made towards you because you were black, small, thin etc.
This is what happened to some friends who went two weeks ago to the Akagera Motors in town to inquire about their new cars.
The sales agent just looked down on them and asked them if they think you could buy a car there? He even went to the extent of asking them to go and look for the small second-hand Toyotas in town.
If you are a manager, take some time and ask your employees who pays their salaries? Well, you are likely to get answers like “the company, the manager, the accounts department etc. But how many of your employees will realize that, it is the “Customer who pays their Salary!
If you are a service person, remember that if you do not show care and attention to the customers who patronize your products and services; they will simply go elsewhere to spend their money. Your costumers are the ones who decide whether your business is going to succeed or fail.
In your next interaction with customers, think of them as “the boss.” You don’t have to call them that, but it will help put your relationship in perspective and will help foster a better customer-focused attitude
The author is a costumer service consultant working in Rwanda.