Should you ever correct a customer? In the customer service industry, the customer is king. You wouldn’t correct a king if he was wrong, so should you correct a customer if they’ve misunderstood something or have been misinformed? It depends.
Should you ever correct a customer?
Correcting a customer – or anyone, for that matter – can be a tense, tightrope to walk. On one hand, you want to ensure that the person doesn’t leave the interaction with misinformation or you may feel the need to give the correct information in an effort to “defend” your business practices.
On the other hand, you’ve probably experienced this scenario before and have seen that it doesn’t always end well. Ever correct a friend’s hilariously-wrong interpretation of song lyrics and faced their wrath? Then you understand why correcting a customer can be a very bad idea at times. (Side note: Growing up, I loved Creedence Clearwater Revival, especially the song Bad Moon Rising. However, my ears heard the words ‘There’s a bathroom on the right’ instead of ‘There’s a bad moon on the rise.’ Still trying to get over that one.)
But sometimes, the misconceptions or misinformation a customer believes can be harmful to your business and reputation. That’s when it’s acceptable to correct a customer.
It’s okay to correct a customer when…
Let’s look at a few examples to understand when it’s okay to correct a customer and when it’s not okay.
Correcting a customer is usually okay when…
- The customer thinks you offer something you don’t
- The customer believes you’ve changed something you haven’t
- The customer worries about upcoming changes
- The customer disputes charges or pricing
- The customer has incorrect information about events, hours, promos, etc.
It’s usually okay to correct a customer with these types of misconceptions and misinformation because it’s essential that customers have a clear and correct understanding of your business and what you offer. Being misinformed about things like these can actually harm your customer, so it’s important that they know the right information about your business and products.
It’s not okay to correct a customer when…
Correcting a customer is NOT okay when…
- The customer is being combative or belligerent
- The customer mispronounces a product or name
The exceptions to the rule
When a customer mispronounces something – your product, company name, service type, etc. – it’s wise to ignore the mispronunciation. After all, a customer calling a Swiffer a ‘Swifter’ doesn’t usually affect the way a person uses or benefits from the product, so it shouldn’t be a top concern of any customer service department. Additionally, correcting a customer can make you seem condescending and rude, two factors that make for a nightmarish customer service interaction. This is why Apple doesn’t allow its employees to correct customers’ mispronunciations of product names.
Likewise, if a customer is being combative, belligerent, or downright abusive, it’s not okay to correct them – it won’t accomplish much of anything at this point except making the customer angrier. Instead, you should work on diffusing the situation and calming the caller.