The Customer Is Always Right-Unless They Are Wrong


The conventional adage is that “the customer is always right”. The Customer has always been right because companies want their repeat business. Getting a customer to come back for more requires more than a simple ad in the streets, a Google or Facebook ad. Customers know this and use it against businesses. But the truth is they are wrong some of the time but you can’t complain as a business. You rather listen and take feedback and they expect you to act on it fast. That is what society expects from your business.

The phrase “The customer is always right” was originally coined by Harry Gordon Selfridge, the founder of Selfridge’s department store in London in 1909, and is typically used by businesses to:

  1. Convince customers that they will get good service at this company
  2. Convince employees to give customers good service

The internet has made it even much more difficult to deny the customer. there are so many options to complain about that banker, sales rep, your customer service department or your attitude as the CEO of the business. Customers are now armed with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, hundreds of online communities & forums and are prepared to blow the trumpet without hesitation. After all you as a business will loose and he or she has nothing to loose.

The problem is even when they know they are wrong, they will still demand more from you. They even lie to get a better price and even tell you they’re willing to pay for products and services they are not. And finally they threaten to cancel your contract. Today’s hyper-informed customer needs education quick and easy. Mind you, they have options(they always claim they do, but they don’t). Given the option to choose your competitor, they could opt to still stay with you. You may have all the answers, but you may  always be right.

The human edge and sense to be important and valued is always in the mind of the your next customer. People spend their time and attention and the money in places that make them feel valued. If you deny them that sense of satisfaction, they can easily go where they are cherished and valued. If you’re not prepared to challenge their thinking, you need to be prepared to accept their terms. They may be wrong but it doesn’t count.

The big question is- Will you ask your customers  to take their business elsewhere when they were  aggressively hostile and abusive and have  refused to accept any attempt to satisfy them. In conflicts between your employees and unruly customers, will you side with your employees or customers?

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