We have all heard it at one time or another in our lives. Many of us have said it when fighting for our rights. For those of us that own businesses we have may have doubted it seriously when confronted by the demands or reaction of an unsatisfied customer. What is the phrase?
The customer is always right.
If I did a survey of the phrase I could probably tell you what quadrant you are in as far as being employed or self-employed/business owner. My goal today is to once and for all answer this question for you and for my clients.
I am a business consultant in the customer experience arena. Many times I am the customer defensor in many situations but I am also like everyone a customer. Sometimes as customers we are just down right unreasonable. Sometimes we have demands, especially when we feel like we have been wronged, that no one would accept. Sometimes we are right. Sometimes companies do owe us one thing or another. From the other side of the sidewalk we have the perspective of the business oweners. Sometimes as business owners we bend over backwards for our customers to make sure they are right. Other times we just don't go near far enough.
So what is the answer? Is the customer always right? NO. Not at all. We are not always right. In many cases we are not even mostly right. Now business owners out there don't start that "I told you" chuckle. So the customer isn't always right. You job is to make sure that the customer always feels like he is right. Why? Why not just come out and tell the customer he is wrong and show him with a 55 gallon barrel of details to back you up? Becuase the moment you do he is no longer a customer. Wrong customers do not exist. Wrong customers are right customers for your competition. If you are in business to make a profit you need right customers. If you are in business to make your competition rich then you need wrong customers. Think about it.
Now what happens when a customer is just too wrong? What happens when he or she is just so darn wrong they aren’t even profitable anymore? Well analyze the situation. Is there any way of making him or her a right customer? No, well then fire him as a right customer and let him go take profit from the competition. This is not an excuse to treat badly. We are all human beings and deserve respect. Just kindly tell them that you do not agree with them but would be happy to recommend them to the competition. Don’t get me wrong this is only about 1% of all customers but that small group can do you damage and you may want to look into shipping them across the street.
In general we have great customers that are right and we love making them feel right because the righter (does that word exist) they feel the more they come back and the more they spend and the righted we want to make them feel. That is how you grow a business. That is how to grow your profits in the long run.
The next time you hear someone say that the customer is always right just smile and nod you hear, “yes sir they sure are” all the way to the bank.