Why Should Managers Treat Employees like Customers?

March 18, 20203:28 pm452 views
Generic placeholder image

Happy employees equal to happy customers. Happy customers equal to having a better return on investment. Good return on investments equal to success for both employers and employees.  


Everything is connected to one another. In fact, Kalpathy Subramanian, a Professor in Management, mentioned that the current business environment is characterised by instant connectivity between employer, employee, and customer, indicating that one cannot survive without another. Luckily, managers only need to focus on one thing in order to win in the connected world, that is to put a great focus on their people – employees. 

Why should managers focus on treating employees like customers? 

In his study, Subramanian found that employees are also customers of their company’s products. They are usually more well-informed about what customers need and want than the line managers. As an example, product misunderstanding is common in the market. Whilst customers expect A when buying a product, what they receive is B or even C. In this case, employees would be the first to know about customer’s dissatisfaction and are the front liners to address the issues. Meanwhile, managers would only know after employees report the case. In other words, employees are not only customers of a company’s product but they are also the first person to address every issue of product misunderstanding. 

See also: Creating Contents that Grab Employee’s Attention

Moreover, Subramanian explained that there is a big correlation between employee satisfaction, work motivation, and customer satisfaction. Happy employees tend to exhibit their enthusiasm when interacting with customers. How employees are treated, or the atmosphere of the internal culture, will dictate how employees feel. Attitude is tied to employee’s performance and is transformed into the quality of their work. That said, when employees have put their hearts and souls into a great product, service, and company, this will improve customer experience that thus, the company can benefit from all of it. 

Unhappy employees could also drive sales? 

While happy employees are businesses’ greatest investment as they bring positive value to the bottom line, there might also be unhappy employees at companies that generate profits, added Subramanian. What should be noted here is that, this will always be a short-term gain. If employees are not putting their hearts into their work, customer service will suffer, and innovation is pressed, killing any chance for a product to evolve and satisfy the customer’s growing and changing needs. 

Heather MacArthur, a senior coaching and development consultant, also agreed that unhappy employees could help business strive, but only for a short period. In her statement, MacArthur said that when employees work for a company that does not care about their happiness and wellbeing, they will be far less committed to their job. As a result, employees would still do their work but refuse to use their creativity. Without creativity in the workplace, a company might find it tough to compete with business rivals. 

To stay competitive: Treat your employees like customers 

MacArthur added that companies should treat employees like customers in order to stay competitive and not only retain employees but also inspire candidates to commit to their mission and work of the company. As a matter of fact, change must come from the inside because the goal here is to help boost employees’ morale. Employees do not perform at their best when they are stressed, down and out, or feeling something wrong inside. Controlling how an employee feels is in direct correlation to how happy customers feel about their experience and whether they return to you or go to a competitor. 

Read also: 7 Ways to Successful Employee Development Survey (with an example)