The chairman of one of the companies that I worked for, had this to say of customer management: “Build a relationship; the rest will follow.” Indeed, trust in the organization, confidence in its products and services and a rapport with its employees is what a customer is eager for when dealing with an organization.
A long-term and professional working relationship.
Inter-personal relationships with co-workers and the employer has the same rules - Keep it professional, keep it work-related. However, sometimes, relationships cross the line of professionalism and become more personalized and familiar, with repercussions.
With the customer, you will be taken advantage of and expected to bend over backward to meet unreasonable requirements even though it is against company policy and especially with refunds or discounts.
With co-workers, you will be seen as displaying favoritism towards someone, or being favored on the basis of a personal equation with that individual. Such a reputation will not solicit cooperation from the rest, something that is crucial in an organizational set up.
(Read Dependence and Self-Reliance).
With the employer, you will be taken for granted. One is compelled to do what is not required of him or her in the normal course of duty.
Look out for where to draw the line between personal and professional relationships at work and remember that the line is thin, almost invisible.