The “customer is always right” is one of those sayings many have adopted. It may seem harmless and seem like a good idea, but it’s not always true.
The phrase was coined by Harry Gordon Selfridge in 1909. He was the founder of Selfridge’s department store in London and believed good service was vital to the company. Although his intention was good, his message wasn’t correct. Good service is important, however, the phrase “The Customer is Always Right” isn’t always true. Here are a few reasons why:
Provide an Advantage to Abrasive Customers
When you bend over backwards to please customers because you believe they are always right, you may be giving power to the abrasive customer. This makes it hard for employees to do their job and they can become victim to an abusive person.
Can Actually Hurt Customer Service
When employees feel as if the customer comes before them, they may not provide great customer service. Putting employees first provides an empowerment by allowing them to work happily, energetically, motivated and ready to take on the world. This leads to better customer service.
However, when you side with the customer over the employee consistently, it sends the wrong message. Employees will feel like they are not valued, treated fairly or respected. This can cause a negative attitude, which leads to poor customer service.
Some Customers are Not Good for Your Business
There are some customers that will take advantage of you over and over if they know you will side with them. They may feel like they have a right to treat your staff terribly, and this can cause many issues within your business. It’s okay to fire bad customers and refuse to work with them. If they cannot treat you and your staff with dignity and respect, you should fire them and replace them with a customer that will.
Sometimes, Customers are Simply Wrong
Putting the customer first and having the mentality that they are always right betrays your employees. Sometimes, a customer can offend other customers with what they say, wear or by causing a scene. This isn’t okay and they are simply wrong.
As a business, you don’t have to put up with customers making other customers feel uncomfortable. Sometimes, customers are plain wrong and if you let them get away with it, they can hurt your business in many ways.
When it comes to the old saying, “The Customer is Always Right,” take it with a grain of salt. If you live by it, you will certainly die by it with unhappy employees and a lower level of customer service.
However, if you put your employees first and show them you are willing to stand up for them and allow them to do their job, you may be surprised at where your company goes. Make sure you fire bad customers unwilling to treat you and your staff with respect and dignity. This will not only show loyalty to your employees, but will also help protect your business from bad customers.