Is It Always True That the Customer Is Correct?
In a nutshell, yeah, Uhm, no, maybe every now and then? Okay, so you’ve probably figured by now that there is no “quick” solution to this question. Anyone who honestly thinks that the customer is always right hasn’t given this policy much consideration hasn’t given it much thought.
Is it true that the last time someone walked into your place of business, phoned you on the phone, or even better, emailed you, they were suffering from a severe case of the nasties? Our company is situated just outside of the city limits, with a bus stop right in front of it. In addition, we possess a number of specialty market websites. What are the chances that we’ll receive our fair share of intriguing characters?
Somehow, the philosophy/policy of “The customer is always right” has been ingrained in the collective consciousness of consumers and has been continuously thrust in the faces of company owners, managers, and workers. After many years of working in law enforcement, we’ve learned from our professors and superiors that it is more important to examine “the spirit of the law” than than “the letter of the law.” Because of these factors, the officer will determine whether or not to issue you a citation for exceeding the speed limit by 5 miles per hour. To adhere to the “letter of the law,” we must obey the rules exactly as they are written each and every time, without exception. Because we have discretion, we may listen to a creative narrative about how your boyfriend caught you with your husband again and how “thank God you’re here to protect me, Officer, and that’s why I was speeding” and so on. “I was attempting to flee!” I said.
Shouldn’t we, as company owners and managers, be able to use the same level of caution when a less than reasonable consumer approaches us, shouting that foolish slogan in our faces? This is not mean that we should not acknowledge our status as “authority figures” and that we should not have a greater level of professionalism, diplomacy, and tact in our interactions with others. All of which are critical to the success of your company. If you want to look sincere in your care, professionalism is the difference between wrapping your knuckles around someone’s forehead and wrapping your knuckles around their neck. If you want to be diplomatic, you can give your customer the impression that you owe them an apology and that you have already provided them with one by saying something to the effect of, “I’m sorry you feel that our policy has inconvenienced you.” rather than actually apologizing and admitting fault for something that your company is righteous in maintaining. If your policy, sign, product, or other communication was misinterpreted and you want to inform your consumer that they’re a total fool, tact is what you’re looking for.
In addition, I don’t condone the practice of never admitting blame or taking responsibility for actual wrongs, and then failing to do all in your power to right the wrong. There are some schools of thought that firmly prohibit acknowledging one’s mistakes. What is their rallying cry? “It is preferable to beg forgiveness rather than permission.” However, the very nature of an absolute statement such as, “The customer is always right,” gives people who come into your business with the expectation that they will be able to conduct themselves however they wish, for no other reason than a sense of entitlement, a free pass to come into your business. Included in this is treating you and/or your workers with total disdain and rudeness at all times. As a consequence, we have a low employee turnover rate because we give our employees the freedom to conduct themselves with professionalism, diplomacy, and tact when necessary. Fortunately, the most majority of our customers give us the chance to offer them true courteous service and to address any concerns in a way that is advantageous to all parties involved. We all come across customers that are plain unreasonable, no matter how much effort we put up to pacify them. Unfortunately, this happens once in a while. After that, you must make an executive choice, and these are just a few of the issues that should be examined in rapid-fire succession practically immediately after being presented with the information above. Is it worthwhile to retain this customer? How much of a negative impact would kicking him in the trousers have on my business? Does it seem to me that I will be able to handle this problem with little damage to my company or bank account? Was it my intention, by overriding their fair judgment, to undermine my employee’s feeling of empowerment and/or dignity? Surely there are additional aspects that you will take into account, but these are the very bare minimum of them.
It should be noted that H Gordon Selfridge, a gentleman from the United Kingdom, was the one who was ultimately responsible for us being forced to suffer the slogan “The customer is always right.” Mr. Selfridge was the visionary behind Selfridge’s Department Stores, which are well-known across the United Kingdom today. Considering that Mr. Selfridge died mad and impoverished, it’s possible that he was caught in the “letter of the law.” Consider this food for thought.