Customers or Employees: Which Comes First?

Chicken Nuggets or Egg McMuffins? Customers or employees? Which comes first? Does it matter?

I was intrigued by an Wall Street Journal article revealing McDonald’s efforts to fix customer service. Much conversation about customers. Little about employees. I felt compelled to respond, in an article I published Friday on Lead Change Group, Dear McDonald’s It’s Not About the Burgers (or even the yogurt).

A Letter to McDonald’s

Dear McDonald’s,

I know you’re frustrated that your internal presentation on fixing customer service was leaked to the press. That stinks. You can recover. At least we know you are trying to fix it. We’d all like a bit more happy with our meals.

5 suggestions (read more on by clicking here)

I tweeted the article to McDonald’s and was impressed with their response.

@letsgrowleaders Thanks. Input from our customers is a gift. We’re trying to improve and grow every day. ^JH

That’s promising.

Customers or Employees?

And so I’ve been asking this question in my circles.
“Employees come first! Companies need a GREAT product to attract and maintain customers, so what better product than great employees!!!”

“Customers come first. Always. Forever. Developing a team and investing in employees is all part of that “selfless service” spirit.”

“Happy people create happy people, experiences, and outcomes.”

“Customers are first because if we take care of them, we will see the benefits, and in turn create happy employees”

“As an employee I should be focused on our customers. As a supervisor, my focus in on the employee. My outward focus should trickle down the line.”

“First start with a dynamic, well-trained, well compensated empowered and respected work force.”

“If we all focused on meeting and exceeding each other’s needs as people first, the same will pass on to our customers.”

“People first” is all that matters.”

“View our employees as customers.”

I choose employees. Engaged, confident happy employees create magical customer experiences. Ignore the employees, your customers will leave.

What advice would you give McDonald’s (or other companies facing similar challenges?