Forget About Your Customers

By: Kasey Skala, guest blogger

How many of you have heard the saying – the customer is always right? What about – customers come first? I’m sure most of us have heard these sayings once or twice in our lives. Well, I’m hear to tell you that both of those thoughts are wrong. The customer is NOT always right, nor does the customer always come first. In fact, right now, I’d suggest putting the customer on the back burner.

Have I lost you? Are you laughing or shaking your head wondering what the hell I’m talking about? Clearly someone can’t be stupid enough to not care about his or her customers? Especially now in a time of crisis. With that thinking, well, you are wrong.

Right now, a company’s biggest asset is its employees. Forget about that cutesy promotion you’re wanting to run, forget about implementing social media. Drop everything – well, almost everything, make sure you pay your bills – and focus your attention and efforts on your employees.

Your product wasn’t what got you customers. It wasn’t your price, your location, your reputation or even your name. While those are certainly important factors, the key reason you have a customer-base at all – your employees. Again, I know what you’re thinking – you need a product that people desire and seek. Who cares about quality and need? Price means nothing, neither does convenience. Regardless of what you think the reason for your loyalty, I’m here to tell you it’s purely because of employees.

How many of you have worked in an environment where a co-worker didn’t believe in the organization? What’s your experience working with someone who shows up simply to collect a paycheck? That may be some of you right now (if it is, quit and find something you’re passionate about. Forget the ‘recession’ and follow your dreams). As employee moral goes down, so does productivity. So does quality. And ultimately, sales go down as well.

Let’s look at Zappos, for example. People don’t buy from Zappos because their product is superior or because they have the lowest prices. People buy from Zappos because their service is top-notch. Their employees love their company and it shows.

The other reason – and probably most important – employees come first is the impact they have on your organization. Positive word of mouth advertising is the most valuable tool you can have. Consequently, negative word of mouth is the most damaging. If your employees are unhappy or if they feel unappreciated, where’s their motivation to spread positive messages? Where is their motivation to show up every day, bust their behind and provide productive and useful services?

You give me an organization in which its employees have passion and love coming to work, I’ll get you customers. A happy and large customer-base can’t get your good employees.

Think about the last time you went to a restaurant that had horrible, horrible service. Your server showed little interest, the food came late, whatever the experience was; but let’s say the food was unbelievable.

Would you be likely to return?

Possibly, but you might check out that other restaurant down the street. But how many times have you gone to a restaurant that had average food, but the atmosphere was great. The server was prompt, showed genuine interest and acted like they wanted to be working. Chances are you have that type of place – I know I do.

So quit worrying about how to get sales up or how to convert the casual shopper to a loyal shopper. Don’t wait for the next all staff meeting, show your employees they’re appreciated each and every day.

They’re the reason for your success – not your customers.

Kasey Skala is “the most awesomeness person in the world. He can leap tall buildings, walk on water and never had to rest on the seventh day!” Well, that and he has his B.A from Drake University in Public Relations and is a current Master’s candidate at the University of St. Thomas. His expeirence includes work in finance, non-profit work, promotions and he is a former sports journalist. He also runs the Electric Waffle on public relations and social media.


  1. Chris Jones says

    This is brilliant.

    I think we forget what it is that attracts us to businesses. I think we forget that the reason you go to Cheers is not the Screaming Viking. Everyone wants to be greeted like an old friend, and the only people that do that for you are employees that really care.

  2. Powerful idea. How can this be implemented or reworded for freelancers and self-employed people?

  3. Powerful idea. How can this be implemented or reworded for freelancers and self-employed people?

  4. So true! On behalf of all long-suffering but still-caring workers, I say thanks!

  5. So true! On behalf of all long-suffering but still-caring workers, I say thanks!