Customer Service Leadership Is The Real King

We often hear “the customer is king.” I don’t believe it.

First, many customers do not behave like kings. Some act more like ruffians than royalty. You might want to disregard this kind of customer altogether. But it’s tough to disregard a king. Second, in certain cultures, the king was revered but also feared.  Hardly the best metaphor to bring closeness between your customers and your staff. Solid customer service leadership simply calls for a different approach.

Third, the idea of a king implies that everyone else is not. I don’t see the benefit of putting your customers on a throne if it means you and your team must live below them. Perhaps it makes more sense to say “the service provider is king.” I mean this in the most responsible way, especially if customer service leadership matters to you.

A benevolent king once traveled his realm in the disguise of a common man. He went to see for himself the quality of life his people experienced each day. Upon his return he made the changes required. If the streets were dirty, he had them cleaned. If a government office was ineffective, he had it fixed. If the people lacked some important goods or service, he arranged for needed improvements. This was customer service leadership in action.

Key Learning Point To Customer Service Leadership

If you were the benevolent king or queen, reigning over your service domain, what changes would you make for the better?

Action Steps To Customer Service Leadership

Search your organization in the disguise of a common customer. Visit your company website. If it’s slow or confusing, get it fixed. Call your service department. If the help is not personal and pleasant, make it so. Access your information hotline. If you find a telephone tree more frustrating than functional, take out your royal shears and prune it. You’re the king when it comes to customer service leadership.


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Copyright, Ron Kaufman. Used with permission. Ron Kaufman is the world’s leading educator and motivator for upgrading customer service and uplifting service culture. He is author of the bestselling “Uplifting Service” book and founder of Uplifting Service. To enjoy more customer service training and service culture articles, visit

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