Here’s a question I’ll bet you could ask a thousand working people and never get the right answer. The question is: “Who’s your boss?”
There’s only one boss, and whether a person shines shoes for a living or heads up the largest corporation in the world, the boss remains the same. It’s the customer. Here is the one person who pays everyone’s salary and who decides whether a business is going to succeed or fail. And he doesn’t care if a business has been around a hundred years. The minute it starts treating him badly, he’ll put it out of business.
This boss, the customer, has bought and will buy everything you have or will ever own. He’s bought all of your clothes, your home, your car, pays for your children’s education and your vacation. He pays all of your bills, and he pays them in exact proportion to the way you treat him.
The man who works deep inside a big plant on an assembly line might think he’s working for the company that writes his pay check, but he’s not. He’s working for the person who buys the product at the end of the line. And if the person doesn’t like the product he won’t buy it, and eventually, if this continues, he fires the man on the assembly line. In fact, he’ll fire everyone in the company from the president on down. And he can do it by simply spending his money someplace else. This is one of the reasons why taking pride in the work we do is so important to us personally. Aside from the joy that comes from doing an exceptionally good job, it will help get more customers, keep the one’s we’ve got, and insure the weekly pay check.
There was a laundry that kept breaking buttons on my shirt. I don’t send them there any more. There must be hundreds of men who had the same experience who have stopped sending their shirts to this laundry.
Now – eventually – it may have already happened – the person running the press who kept breaking shirt buttons has to lose that job. He’ll be fired by the customer, and the laundry loses thousands of dollars. The customer loses, the company loses, the employee loses. Doesn’t help anyone.
Some of the largest companies that had flourishing business a few years ago are no longer in existence. They couldn’t – or didn’t – satisfy the customer. They forgot who the boss really is.
Some brand names that once were famous, which led their fields a few years back, can no longer be found; others are bigger and better than ever.
The customer is always fair. He can be won back, if you don’t let him go too long. He’ll spend his money with you if you earn it, and he’ll bring his friends. You can fool him once, but seldom twice, and you’re only fooling yourself if you try.
You can get in your car and drive across the country and tell by looking at any business, from a little corner grocery store to a mammoth corporation, exactly how it’s treating the boss by seeing the way the boss has been treating the business.
Knowing who the boss really is and how to treat him can make all the difference between success and failure, happiness and constant frustration. Next time you get the chance, ask someone who he thinks the boss really is.