The Customer Is NOT Always Right

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Do not blindly follow “the customer is always right” philosophy. It could hurt you and your brand!

We are sure we have all heard the phrase “The customer is always right”. Before we dive into why it is not exactly right, let us have a small history lesson. 

According to Huffington Post, “The customer is always right” was originally coined in 1909 by Harry Gordon Selfridge, the founder of the popular Selfridge’s department store in London, and is typically used by businesses to convince customers that they will get good service at this company and convince employees to give customers good service.

While the expression is built on good intentions, it could do a lot of harm to your business especially if you constantly try to impress your customers no matter the cost. Here are three ways “the customer is always right” could be ruining your business:

  • It frustrates your employees:

Every business has its fair share of rude and ill-mannered customers who would occasionally frustrate your employees. Constantly taking the customer’s side in these situations puts your business at a disadvantage because employees would feel unimportant. When faced with supporting your employees and taking sides with an intolerable, enraged customer, it is important to support your employee, especially where they have done all and even more to support the customer. This sends a message to erring customers that although they are important, your staff are important stakeholders too. It also builds a feeling of importance and loyalty among employees who would treat well-behaved customers very well. Happy employees make happy customers.

  • It limits resources:

Most businesses, especially with the current economic clime have limited resources. Every business also has a good number of customers who are never satisfied. Hence, struggling through limited resources to achieve the impossible feat of satisfying this type of customer will ruin you and your business. If the necessary steps have been taken to address the issues of a customer, little or no resource-demanding measures should be taken especially if the customer is problematic. Charu Singh, Founder and Creative Head, Zooki opines that “Businesses are not dependent on individual buyers. It is actually immature to spend all the energy to satisfy someone who does not intend to be happy. It is important to address the requirements of hundreds and thousands of other regular clients, and also show solidarity with the employees.”

  • It hinders change:

Whenever a business decides to make changes, there would always be customers who would vehemently kick against it especially if the benefits are not immediate. For instance, when Toblerone changed the shape of their iconic chocolate bars, their customers went crazy. It was not because the new shape of the bars was bad, it was just different, and customers do not always enjoy different. Customers often like to maintain the norm since it is what they are used to. If you make (drastic) changes in your business, you will definitely face initial backlash. Thus, if you are a firm believer that the customer is always right, you would not be “allowed” to make significant improvements to your business because you overrate customer feedback.I reality, no one knows your business as you do and sometimes, you have to make the hard decisions that would no doubt favour your business in the long run. 

In conclusion, as much as possible, your business should aim at stellar customer service. You and your employees ought to ensure your customers are happy and satisfied. However, do not blindly follow “the customer is always right” philosophy as it could hurt you and your brand. Instead, aim to do the right thing and be the best for your customers. 

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