顧客或股東優先?

By Rick Boxx

馬雲是阿里巴巴集團的創辦人,這是一家大家奉為典範的電子商務公司,馬雲也是中國最富有的人之一。馬雲在一次電視新聞雜誌節目的訪問中談到他簡單易懂的商業理念,他說:「顧客優先、員工其次、股東第三。」

這位企業家繼續說:「若你照顧好你的顧客和員工,他們就會照顧好股東。」

當然,堅持這種信念與今天世界上許多企業和非營利組織的作法背道而馳。許多上市公司都以個人利益為導向,將重點專注在股東的獲利上,每季的財務報表是他們最關心的事。因此,所作的決策常常是以安撫股東為優先,而忽視了顧客的利益。結果產品與服務的品質就受損,而客戶服務這個應有的美德更被丟到一邊。

箭驛巴士公司(Arrow Stage Lines)是一家備受推崇的巴士出租公司,在美國有四間區域辦公室。其執行長史帝夫.巴斯寇(Steve Busskohl)解釋他們是如何重視顧客:「我們企業的成功來自於我們公司內部和外界建立良好的關係。我們內部的員工互相尊重及信任對方的才幹與能力,彼此就像同為一體般的合作無間,並以此來確保每位顧客在使用我們提供的服務時,會有美好的體驗。身為企業主,我教導他們公司的核心價值,使每位員工都有相同的想法,然後去擔負他們各人的職責,所以他們能夠把自己的工作做到卓越。」

雖然這樣的信念似乎是少數人的觀點,但却已有幾千年的歷史。耶穌基督雖然不是「工商人士」,但祂也秉持著這種理念。祂在馬可福音9章35節告訴祂的門徒說:「若有人願意作首先的,他必作眾人末後的,作眾人的用人。」

後來耶穌更進一步談到這觀點:「你們中間,誰願為大,就必作你們的用人;在你們中間,誰願為首,就必作眾人的僕人。因為人子來,並不是要受人的服事,乃是要服事人,並且要捨命作多人的贖價。」(馬可福音10章43-45節)

只專注股東的利益,尋求在最短的時間獲得最大的財務回收,反映出短期快速致富的態度,這可能會為企業長期帶來嚴重不良的後果。然而,若將顧客視為第一優先,不僅能獲得他們立即展現滿意的反應,也大大增加了他們將再次與你作生意的未來性。

將耶穌所說的應用在工商業界,成為你顧客和員工的僕人,感覺是讓你現在居於下方,但這却會為你帶來更好的結果。

本文版權為正直資源中心(Integrity Resource Center, Inc.)所有。本文獲得授權改編自「瑞克.博克思 的正直時刻Integrity Moments with Rich Boxx」。這系列的文章是以一個基督徒的觀點評論職場的正直議題。

省思/討論題目
在你的企業或組織中,是顧客或股東優先?請解釋。 對於「顧客優先、員工其次、股東第三」這句話,你立即的反應是什麼? 作者建議,應當將員工以及供應商也視同為購買產品或服務的顧客?你是否同意?持這種觀點並照做的人可能會有什麼問題? 你是否認為在今天的職場中,「服務人」的觀念正在式微,或者不被強調?為什麼?這樣會有什麼影響?註:若你有聖經且想要讀更多有關此主題的經文,請參考以下經節:箴言14章4節,18章16節,27章18、20、23-27節;路加福音16章13節;腓立比書2章3-4節;歌羅西書3章23-24節

CUSTOMER FIRST – OR SHAREHOLDER FIRST?
By Rick Boxx

Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba Group Holding Limited, a pace-setting e-commerce company, and one of the wealthiest business people in China, explained his simple, straight-forward business philosophy during an interview on a TV news magazine program. Mr. Ma said at Alibaba, "Customers are first, employees second, and shareholders are third."

The entrepreneur went on to state, "If you take care of your customers, and your employees, they will take care of the shareholders."

This philosophy, of course, runs counter to the attitudes of numerous businesses and for-profit organizations around the world today. Many publicly traded companies have become so shareholder-focused, so bottom line-oriented that quarterly financial results have become all that matters to them. Because of this, decisions are often made to appease and benefit shareholders rather than customers. As a result, the quality of products and services may suffer, and the time-honored virtues of customer service are cast aside.

Fortunately, this approach is not universal. Although they may be in the minority, there are glowing exceptions of companies who regard their customers and customer service as a foremost value. In fact, some have expanded their definition of “customer” to include employees and suppliers, as well as those that purchase and use their products and services.

Steve Busskohl, CEO of Arrow Stage Lines, a highly respected motorcoach company with four regional offices in the United States, explains Arrow”s emphasis on the customer: “The success of our business flows from the relationships we have with people both inside and outside of the company. It takes men and women who respect each other”s talents and abilities, committed to working together as a team to ensure that each customer has a successful experience with us. As owners, we teach our core values, empower each staff member to think like an owner, and then get out of their way so they can do their jobs with excellence.”

Even though such a philosophy may seem to be a minority perspective, it has been embraced for thousands of years. While not a “businessman,” Jesus Christ endorsed this philosophy when He told his disciples in Mark 9:35, "If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all."

Later He expanded on this view: “…whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:43-45).

Focusing on shareholders or stockholder benefits only, seeking to generate the greatest financial return in the shortest time, typically reflects a short-term, “get rich quick” attitude that can bring about severe long-term consequences for a business. However, making customers a top priority ensures not only their immediate satisfaction but also greatly increases their likelihood of doing business with you in the future.

Paraphrasing what Jesus said, and applying it to the business and professional world, being a servant to your customers and your employees may put you last for now, but will likely lead to a much better result.

Copyright 2015, Integrity Resource Center, Inc. Adapted with permission from "Integrity Moments with Rick Boxx," a commentary on issues of integrity in the workplace from a Christian perspective

Reflection/Discussion Questions
At your business or organization, who is given the greatest priority – the customer or the shareholder? Explain your answer. What is your immediate reaction to the statement, "Customers are first, employees second, and shareholders are third"? It is suggested that not only those who purchase products or services, but also employees and suppliers should be regarded as customers? Do you agree? What might be some problems of holding to this perspective and acting upon it? Do you believe the concept of serving others is in decline or being deemphasized in the workplace today? Why or why not – and what is the impact of this?NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages: Proverbs 14:4, 18:16, 27:18,20,23-27; Luke 16:13; Philippians 2:3-4; Colossians 3:23-24

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