Do You Believe The Customer Comes First?
Do you really believe the ‘customer comes first’?
A lot of businesses say they put their clientele first. A few marketing slogans that have been used to emphasise this are:
- The customer is always right
- The customer is king
- The customer comes first
These slogans on their own imply these are the people that are most important to a business.
However, for those who have gone through the process of setting up a business, you would have noticed a business is referred to as an entity. We then go even further as business owners by branding the business, thus giving it an identity.
With this in mind, would the customer come first?
The entire belief that your consumers comes first is all part of a businesses marketing campaign. It says to the people, ‘we have taken into account your views in creating this product/service.’
What about in situations where a product is created that they didn’t know they needed or even wanted? Were those products created by putting the users first, or because someone spotted an issue and tried to come up with a solution?
Using the iPod as an example, was it created with the customer in mind, or was it created because a solution was found for the issue of only being able to listen to one CD on a Discman at a time?
If the end users had been asked as part of a focus group whether they would like to have a device that could fit into their pocket and hold over 1,000 songs, would they have said yes? Would they have been able to comprehend the idea without seeing it?
In terms of the customer coming first in this example, are they being given what they want, or are they being given something that fulfills a problem they didn’t know they have?
It’s probably a bit of both.
This is one of the many buzzwords used by businesses when communicating with employees and customers.
The use of this term is a 21st century way of saying, ‘we focus on the customer,’ or ‘the customer comes first.’
The term has even found its way into a lot of employee reviews.
Traditionally, a customer is someone who buys a service or product from a business. Conversely, if you receive goods or services from someone in exchange for something, that makes you a customer.
For a business, the obvious customer are those that interact with it by purchasing something.
How about within a business? Are the different departments, customers of each other? Is the marketing department a customer of the accounting department?
Based on the definition of what a customer is, yes. The marketing department is a customer of the accounting department. This is because the accounting department provides a service to the marketing department by preparing their budget.
Using this example, would the accounting department always put the marketing department first?
It’s not that clear cut, is it?
Businesses are considered to be an entity in its own right. They have a voice and communicates via its branding.
A business is also set up to survive and, as a business owner or even an employee, that is always on top of one’s mind. Therefore, the survival of a business will always be put above its customers.
Perhaps the idea of the customer is being taken too literally. Then again, maybe it is not.
Would a business be able to survive if its customers are not profitable? If the customer is always put first, then the business would stick with those customers at the expense of its survival. Instead, in situations where customers are not profitable, a business would work towards getting a more profitable customer base.
This leads to the conclusion putting the customer first is a myth. It is a myth because businesses work hard to survive and will do what it takes to ensure its survival.
Then there are the employees. By putting customers in the traditional sense first, what does that say about how those who work for the organisation are treated? Where do they come in the pecking order of business, customer and employees?
The customer is not king, businesses do not put customers first and the customer is most definitely not always right.
The order in which a business prioritises those who interact with it are:
- Business - a business would do what it has to do to survive
- Staff - having staff that are happy and want to come to work everyday helps with increasing the business’s overall bottom line.
- Customers - they are listened to and so long as they spend, their voice will be heard. If they stop spending, then new customers would be looked for.
Do you still believe businesses think the customer comes first?