Customer Is Not King
Have you ever seen one of those signs in a restaurant that reads “Unattended children will be given an espresso and a free puppy”? I love these signs because they’re funny but they also make a point. As a parent, I am given the establishment’s clear expectations of my children’s behavior: they are welcome to be here, but please supervise them. Simple enough.
Lance CPA Group is a virtual firm, which is a perk that all of our employees greatly enjoy. After becoming a partner in the firm though, I’ve identified a challenge in the virtual model: we cannot hang any signs. Why would a virtual CPA firm need to hang a sign? At first, I didn’t see the need for it either. But over the past year, I have begun to realize my naivete and have been surprised at how some of my employees have been treated.
In November I attended the Iowa Craft Brewers Guild’s conference, i-BEST. A session presented by attorney Mark Hudson was titled “Sexual Harassment in the Hospitality Industry: The Customer is not King!” Mark’s presentation has stayed with me weeks later as I replay conversations and meetings that my team and I have had over the last year. Would he have said that to me if I were a man? Would that client have spoken in such a way if Josh had been on the call? If I would not allow someone to speak that way to me in my personal life, why am I allowing it in my professional one? And what kind of example am I setting for my team?
After much contemplation, I’ve resolved to consider this my sign. There are expectations for the way a person should conduct themselves when he or she interacts with a member of Lance CPA Group; let alone with anyone in the B2B service industry. We are respectful professionals and we ask for you to be the same. Our services are valuable, we enjoy our work, and we love our customers. However, no team member is ever expected or encouraged to endure a relationship with a customer that is degrading or aggressive. There is no customer that is worth more to us than any one of our team members. The customer is not king.