Who Do You Work For?

When I work with and train service teams, I invariably ask the audience who they work for.  I’ll go around, and I’ll ask specific people what they’re job is.  I’ll get various answers: bartender, server, dishwasher, cook, hostess, etc.  I then tell them that that is their role, but their number one job is to service the guest.  In essence, everyone in the restaurant works for the guest.

I recently was doing a training at Radio City Music Hall. I was asking the team who they worked for.  They looked at me incredulously and said, “Radio City Music Hall.” I challenged them.  I told them that I disagreed with them. None of them work for Radio City Music Hall. They might get paid by Radio City Music Hall. They might get their checks written from Radio City Music Hall, but ultimately, every single person there works for every guest that buys a ticket and attends a performance at Radio City Music Hall.

In a goods and services economy, everyone of us works for the person that ultimately pays for the goods and services.  That factory worker that works for Mattel, the toy company, might think that they’re working for Mattel, but actually they’re working for the guest that’s in Target that buys that toy off the shelf.  Without those consumers, without those people that buy the goods and services, none of us have a job.  I learned a long time ago that the guest or customer isn’t always right, but they must be satisfied, because all of us ultimately work for them.

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