Beyond The Customer is Always Right

by: Andrew K Lundgren, MA, LMFT, LPC
Training & Curriculum Development Specialist
Dirkse Counseling & Consulting, Inc.

If you have ever worked in the realm of retail or toiled orders of food from the “back of the house” to the “front of the house”, you know that polarizing phrase that has allowed an abrasive customer to treat an employee rudely: “The customer is always right”. This slogan has been used to improve the customer experience for over 100 years. The phrase, attributed to Marshall Field and Harry Gordon Selfridge, instructed its employees to provide exemplary customer service in their high-end department stores. Today, companies realize that how they perceive and treat their employees is equally, if not more, important to the customer experience.

Businesses, more than ever, are focusing on a culture of diversity and inclusion, not because it meets compliance, but because it improves the bottom line. Let’s hear that again. Focusing on inclusion in the workplace improves the bottom line for business. Instead of bending over backwards to meet unruly or brash customers, companies are integrating a diverse framework into their workforce. By doing so, they empower employees, believe in them, and provide for them so that positive customer experience is a byproduct. A 2019 Harvard Business Review found that when a company has a focus on the employee experience it appears “twice as often on the American Customer Satisfaction Index” and financially it is more than 4 times as profitable.

With over one billion people globally who have disabilities, businesses need to consider how to fully integrate the needs of people with disabilities. Taking a proactive stance toward inclusion of people with disabilities has a two-fold effect. In one sense it allows companies to attract talented people from a larger pool of applicants and in another, it allows its diverse workforce to innovate and create a pipeline to a larger customer base. All of this, by including people with disabilities and making the workplace more accessible.  Also, companies that include people with disabilities have found they experience lower turnover, have the same if not better job performance, attendance records, and even safety records than their counterparts without a disability. Doing inclusion allows employees to acquire an intrinsic value out of work. This ultimately has a ripple effect on the customer experience (without mandating that the “customer is always right”).

However, creating a culture of inclusion within the workplace is not a simple declaration. Companies must be willing to consider how to implement a strategic plan toward inclusion. Businesses “must deliberately create an environment where differences, talents and perspectives are maximized in order to create high-performing” employees (2019, Burden).

To learn more about this topic of inclusion and accessibility for people with disabilities, be sure to join us at our 3rd annual Amplify! Success at Nike WHQ in Beaverton on October 16th, 1:00-5:00pm. 

Become a Sponsor of Amplify! Success 2019! contact Cindy Bahl @ 503-258-7715 or cindy@dirksecc.com

Amplify! Is an initiative of Dirkse Counseling & Consulting, Inc. That includes two annual events, Amplify! Success in October and Amplify! Rock Stars in May.  Events are designed to inspire, empower and equip employers to create a more inclusive workplace for people with diverse abilities.

REFERENCES

Burden, Lisa. “Not being greeted in the morning is not retaliation, district court says.” HR Dive. Web. Retrieved August 08 2019, from https://www.hrdive.com/news/not-being-greeted-in-the-morning-is-not-retaliation-district-court-says/560587/.

Ceridian. (2019). 2019 human capital management trends: perspective on how technology will shape the world of work. Retrieved August 8, 2019, from http://images.knowhow.ceridian.com/Web/CeridianCorporation/%7B38b85f52-d12f-43ed-b268-9c89d171a541%7D_RR-NA-EN-NP-114788-101-Top-HCM-Trends-2019.pdf?_ga=2.101840392.829485349.1565724816-1213647773.1565724816

Lengnick-Hall, M., & Gaunt, P. (2007). Why employers don’t hire people with disabilities. Hidden talent: how leading companies hire, retain, and benefit from people with disabilities (pp. 25-33). London: Praeger.

UN World Health Organization (WHO), World Report on Disability: Summary, 2011, WHO/NMH/VIP/11.01, available at: https://www.refworld.org/docid/50854a322.html [accessed 11 August 2019]

McBain, H. (1944, November). Are Customers Always Right? The Rotarian, Retrieved from Google Books.

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