Modern business is all about surviving and thriving at all times. And to do that, one of the most
important ingredients is acquiring and retaining customers. Offering great customer service is a surefire
way to garner a great reputation in the industry, as well as helping your clients feel satisfied and valued.
But too often, businesses end up bending over backward for clients that offer more problems than value
to the business. Is the customer always right? This blog will attempt to prove otherwise.
Why the Customer is Not Always Right
Before 19 th Century commercialism, the principle of caveat emptor prevailed. This Latin term translates
into “let the buyer beware”, meaning the buyer is responsible for any defects, flaws, or unsuitability for
use of a product. However, in 1909, Harry Selfridge, whom you may know as the founder of Selfridge
stores, coined the term “the customer is always right”. Since then, it has become a maxim for businesses
in all customer dealings, from handling Spectrum service requests to fielding refund claims. It makes
sense to keep your customers happy, right? But does that really matter in the face of the following four
- Employee Morale Will Be Impaired
- Customer Service Levels Will Drop
- Certain Customers Will Always Try To Take Undue Advantage
- Nobody Is Always Right 100% Of The Time
Let’s examine these in more detail below.
Employee Morale Will Be Impaired
When businesses value a customer’s opinion over a long-time employee’s, the outcome is obvious. The
employee will feel undervalued, underappreciated, or even humiliated. It is important to always
remember why you hired your workers in the first place: for their expertise and skills. You have to
remember that your employees are deeply invested in your business vision and goals. Most likely, they
are motivated to work hard, accomplish tasks, and help the business grow and earn profits. Of course,
from time to time, employees may enter a slump and need a push in the right direction. But for the
most part, you need to trust their discretion in handling customers, especially more difficult and
unreasonable ones. When you side with a customer that has been disparaging or abusive to your
workers, you stand the risk of losing those workers.
Customer Service Levels Will Drop
Most employees are hardworking individuals who try to stick to workplace rules, regulations, policies,
and guidelines. Yet if whenever demanding clients ask for unreasonable accommodation are given
special treatment by you, your workers will begin to lose faith in the importance of their roles. The will
feel sidelined and will likely stop putting in their best efforts when it comes to customer service. Of
course, if you prove to your employees that you value and support their actions, you will find they tend
to put customers first and do their job as best as possible. Otherwise, you may end up with a team of
dissatisfied customer service reps who no longer put in 100% in handling customers.
Certain Customers Will Always Try to Take Undue Advantage
There are always going to be great customers that are a pleasure to work with. But there will also be a
breed of extremely unreasonable, hostile, and even abusive customer who gives your employees an
unduly hard time. Dealing with such customers is always exhausting, especially when they refuse to
accept reasonable service or explanations. These customers are usually convinced they can get what
they want, and when you apply the “customer is always right” theory to them, you’re actually
encouraging them. Sure they will keep coming back once they get what they need from you, but they
will continue to be abrasive and unfair. Over time, these customers add far less value to your business
compared to the stress and abuse they put your staff through. It is better to simply “fire” such
customers and keep the toxicity away from your workers.
Nobody is Always Right 100% of the Time
Of course, “the customer is always right” is a virtual impossibility in the real world. Humans aren’t
perfect by any measure of the word. Whether you’re a CEO, a business manager, or a mid-level
employee, you will make mistakes. Why should you expect your customers to be any different? Should
the Spectrum Waco Texas phone number deal with a client who accidentally dialed it from Alabama?
Should you service a client that is demanding a product that you have never listed on your website?
Should you let a client demand to take advantage of a limited-time promotion that has expired? These
are all real-world situations, and they all create problems. Your customers are human too, and they
make mistakes, misunderstand messages, and confuse things too. But should you really accommodate
their demands even if they are wrong?