“There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.” – Sam Walton, single dime store owner who parlayed his company into Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer.

In the business of work and desire to streamline processes, increase profitability, and engage with colleagues, do you forget who is your boss?

I’m the person who pays your bills – and your salary.

I’m the person who exists for you to please.

I’m not your manager, your CEO, your board of directors or shareholders.

I am your customer.

If, in your daily decisions and actions, you forget that I exist, that you work for me – that I employed you to solve one of my problems, we’re going to have problem.

Time and time again, businesses get into trouble if people see the boss as the person they report to, or who signs the pay cheques. As a result, they make bad decisions, and layer in extra processes and bureaucracy that the customer doesn’t care about – or want to pay for.

So how do we continually remember who’s the boss, and that our job is to please the customer?

It’s simple: you must have some sort of data continually reporting back to everyone in the company about how happy the customer is. In fact, many of the companies I work with circulate customer feedback through the entire company on a daily or weekly basis that helps keep it top of mind.

To measure customer satisfaction at different points in the transaction or relationship, many use the Net Promoter System (NPS), which gives not only a score of how well you are doing, but information on what customer likes, and the things that would make them more even more thrilled to continue to be your customer.

The System becomes an automatic reminder that the customer is the boss – and, with customer-facing teams, becomes a game to continually fix the things that make the customer crazy.

And remember the wise words of automotive pioneer Henry Ford…

“It is not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It is the customer who pays the wages.” – Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company