The Customer Experience Golden Rule for Employers

Jim L. Watson

Everyone knows the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

How can the same Golden Rule be used to guide corporate officers and managers in creating an organization that is more customer-focused; an organization that consistently delivers a great experience for its customers?

A principal role of leadership is to set an example for others to follow. If you want your employees to treat your customers with respect; to anticpate and be responsive to their needs and to establish a strong, trusting relationship, the best way to get them to accomplish that is by example. Be the example for your employees, that you wish them to be for your customers.

Let's break it down into three simple intiatives:

1. Treat your employees with respect.
People tend to treat others as they themselves are treated. If employees are regularly treated with respect, they'll in turn treat those whom they encounter, with a similar level respect. For customer-facing emloyees, this is particulary important. Respect begets respect. That's a concept that's been articulated through the ages within psychology and theology, and should equally apply to the workplace. As a manager, be an example.

2. Respond to your employees' needs.
If you're responsive to your employees, they will in turn be responsive to your customers. Not out of obligation, but out of human nature. Take it a step further, by eliciting and anticipating their needs. Don't wait for your employees to tell you what they need; draw the needs out of them; be approachable; make it clear that you're their facilator. Hold regulary meeting whose sole purpose is for employees to freely voice their concerns and needs with respect to serving customers. And be sure to fully respond to, and follow-up on every expressed need. The manner in which you respond to your employees will become the manner in which they'll respond to your customers. Be an example.

3. Earn the trust of your employees.
That's right - you should earn their trust. If a customer-facing employee is confident that they have your support; that they can trust you to support their manner of engagement with customers, they'll feel more at ease in doing what they believe is right for the customer.


Respect, responsiveness and trust. If managers regulary display a high level of respect toward their employees, elicit and respond to their needs in a clear and complete manner, and take steps to earn their trust, employees will follow that lead. They'll do so by showing respect for customers, anticipating and fully responding to each customer's needs. Customers in turn will show greater trust in your company, and display that trust through greater loyalty.

The Golden Rule for customer-centric organizations is: Do unto your employees, as you would have them do unto your customers.

What do you think?