I’m settling the “customers first vs. employees first” debate right here.

woman carrying baby

Who should you put first, customers or employees? Go ahead, think about it, I’ll wait.

Many say you have to put customers first because they are why you are in business and they deserve your focus and attention. You should base your decisions on their needs.

Then there’s the school of thought that says you must put employees first because only happy employees can make customers happy.

This is all logical thinking and worthy of discussion and thought. But, I am afraid, coming to a firm conclusion is ultimately a fool’s errand. There are good arguments for both with multiple pros and cons. So, let me put a stop to this nonsense once and for all.

I say put neither customers nor employees first. Instead, put service first.


Consider this. Unless you were an only child, at some point in your youth, you probably asked your mom or dad which child they liked better. What was the reply? For my mom it was, “I love all of you, I just love you differently.” She didn’t make one of us a higher priority, she made loving us the priority.  

So, when it comes to employees or customers, put the same thinking in place. Don’t put one above the other, put helping them both succeed (i.e. service) as the priority.

And, if you do it, two things happen.

  1. Your employees and customers both benefit by getting problems solved and achieving goals.
  2. Your business succeeds because everyone is part of a chain where:
    • Leaders take care of employees
    • Employees take care of customers
    • Customers take care of profit
    • Profit takes care of the business

Employees and customers. Both are critically important and serve particular functions, and you can’t have one without the other. Instead of trying to decide who is most important, make them both important by making service to them your priority.

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2 thoughts on “I’m settling the “customers first vs. employees first” debate right here.

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