The customer is always right — except when they are wrong


THE OLD adage that the customer is always right is on the contrary not so right.

While it is the prerogative of every business to ensure that they treat their customers well it is important to know that a business cannot do that at all costs.

The customer is always right except when they are wrong. It would not make sense for a business not to gain return on investment just because of an undecided customer. Sometimes the business has to be firm or strong enough to part ways with a customer.

This, however, does not in any way suggest that a business and its employees should be rough and unkind to its customers. There are many ways to avoid this.

A business has to invest in a well-trained frontline staff that are patient and are excellent negotiators.

The frontline staff has to be dependable and trustworthy. They should be people who have the business at heart. Once the frontline staff has the right attributes they will protect the business well and at the same time ensure that customers are happy.

The customer is always right adage suggests perfection on the customer and yet no one person in this world is perfect. Customers can sometimes be abusive and costly to the business. The business therefore has to be careful not to rid its staff the confidence to fight to protect the business over an unnecessarily difficult customer. This theory is far from what is taught at business school and may come as a surprise to business people as it were.

Experience, however, has also shown that the genuine customers will also not complain at every encounter with the business. One will find that those customers who have a genuine relationship with the business will also want the business to grow and to be successful. In some instances the customers who complain all the time do not even bring significant returns to the business.

However controversial the subject may be today, it is still refreshing to note that there are customers who appreciate the service that is rendered to them by the businesses that they use.

These are customers who come back and express their gratitude for good service. These are the customers who will leave a tip or pay just a little bit more for the service or in their own special way express their gratitude. This type of customer undoubtedly motivates the service provider to continue shining as they seek to please the customer even more.

From the above, it is clear that people make the business go round, be it the customer or the employees of the business. Finding them, managing them, inspiring them and holding onto them is the most important challenge that the business has.

One of the most common reasons a customer may walk away from a service provider is because they were not listened to.

You see if you constantly have to ask that the till be cleaned before you charge your items, a customer will soon find a shop that does this without being asked.

Similarly employees leave jobs not so much about the money, but more often out of frustration.

People are therefore the lifeblood of any company and all of them need to be treated with respect. Once the relationship is no longer working each side has to be brave enough to back down without any animosity as indeed one party may realise at some stage that the relationship was worthwhile and may want to come back and re-establish it.

So indeed, customers are always right unless they are wrong.

Till next week, keep reading the red publication and remain Brand Savvy.