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ECT News Community   »   CRM Buyer Talkback   »   Re: Employee Loyalty: The Customer Isn't Always Right

Re: Employee Loyalty: The Customer Isn't Always Right
Posted by: Matt McClellan 2007-11-15 10:09:23
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While many expect employees to be loyal to the company, James B. Heller says there are times when the company needs to stand up and be loyal to its employees. As president of Ka Architecture, Heller recalls an architect whose client was so angry that the employee was sure he was going to lose his job. Instead, Heller supported the company man and helped him work out the issue -- mending the client relationship and cementing the employee's loyalty in one stroke. In this interview, Heller about why the customer isn't always right and why you can't always take on every project.

Re: Employee Loyalty: The Customer Isn't Always Right
Posted by: heathbar66 2007-11-20 13:18:43 In reply to: Matt McClellan
It's a fine line for companies to walk - it's a rare company that can at the same time satisfy its customers and keep its employees happy.
The power company for which I work has a healthy attitude about customer satisfaction; it's boiled down to two words: "Customer First". Everyone within the company is expected to do what they can to satisfy the customer or get the customer to someone who can satisfy the customer. The customer isn't always right - but we listen to our customers and try to give the best possible options to the customer given their situation and what the power company is permitted to do.
Before I took my current job at the power company, I worked for a cable TV contracting company that had such a "tunnel vision" about doing anything to satisfy a client cable company or the customer of a client cable company that they'd routinely screw over their front-line employees, the field technicians.
The best company I've heard of that balances customer satisfaction with employee contentment is the Wegmans grocery store chain in and around upstate New York. They simply believe that happy employees lead to having happy customers - and it shows. A long time ago, I was very fortunate to be able to shop at Wegmans - and while they weren't the cheapest grocery story to go to - the customer experience there made it more than worth the extra cost.

Re: Employee Loyalty: The Customer Isn't Always Right
Posted by: deladem 2007-11-15 11:07:25 In reply to: Matt McClellan
Indeed there are times when the company is expected to be loyal to the employee. But loyalty has to be properly defined and put in the right perspective. I have written elsewhere that it is absolutely important to train our customer service persons to stand on their own feet i.e. solve problems without unduly escalating them. If the training is sufficient enough, there would be no need to step in and be compelled to take sides.
When it is said that:" the customer is right", my professional understanding of it is to guide us in dealing with them from the perspective that suggest that we could be wrong in our understanding of what they really want from us. This understanding makes us listen more than talk. That mantra :"the customer is right", shouldn't be understood in the black or white sense. Maybe is should be put this way: "THE CUSTOMER IS INNOCENT". There is always the gray side to every situation.
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