058: The Customer Is The Most Important Visitor
“A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so.” – Unknown
This quote is often misattributed to Gandhi. I was pretty skeptical that Gandhi, a ‘non-business person’ would say something like that. Seems like my suspicions are true, and evidence now points to Kenneth B. Elliott as the source of the quote.
The customer isn’t always right, but that doesn’t mean you should go around dissing them. Ultimately any business needs customers to stay afloat, and how successful a business can be is proportional to how many customers it can help. If you aren’t helping your customers, then they have no need for you. Then they won’t shop with you, and you know what happens after that.
This perspective is hard to see if your customers are always being hard on you. It’s also difficult for non-client facing employees to see how the customers are critical to the business. These can lead to unsatisfactory work, because employees don’t know who they are really helping. Some might venture to think that they are really helping top management fatten their wallets. Though that may be true in some cases, honest businesses are not about that at all. The purpose of this quote and comic is to remind everyone of this timeless business principle and bring the customer back into focus.
If you know of other customer centric business principle or quotes, do share them in the comments section below.
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