Everyone has heard the phrase “The Customer is Always Right.” Whether you have been the employee or the customer you have dealt with this. However, over time the meaning behind this has changed, especially in the Social Age. Many companies have used this motto as a way to make sales and as a line of defense against poor survey results. The impact on the store’s reputation of being customer centric is in part due to these surveys and also gaining competitive advantage in the market.
However, is the customer actually always right? An article by Julie Forman discusses this question and expands on, “The Dark Side of “The Customer is Always Right”.” If a company focuses on this practice too heavily then you can get into a bad strategy of the customer ultimately deciding your business practices for you. If the customer comes in knowing that if they complain enough then the price will be dropped, they will never expect to pay full price on anything. Ultimately this will put a dent in the amount of profits your company will earn.
Jayson DeMers in his article, “No, The Customer Is Not Always Right,” brings up another great point. If a company continually focuses on the customer always being right, then you set employees up for a battle against the customer. If an employee has to please every customer demand then they will continually feel beat down. This lowers the employee morale in your company, which in turn affects the overall experience for your customer. If you missed it my previous post on morale discusses these implications.
Another great article, “3 Reasons Why the Customer Is Always Right… Is Wrong,” by Bubba Page makes a great point that the “customer is not an expert.” When a customer comes into your store they may think they know more about your policies and procedures, but in reality they do not necessarily. Your employees are trained on all policies, and new rollouts, which the customer may not be aware of. Empower your employees to be able to make a decision in that moment, even if it means not allowing the customer to be right. Yes, some complaints are absolutely valid, but empowering your employees allows them to make a decision where they are the expert. Making a great moment for a guest does not mean giving away everything in your store at a discount.
Do you think the customer is always right? This can be a controversial topic. Let me know your thoughts on this by leaving a comment!