Ever heard of the typical business phrase that “the customer is always right” or “customer is king”? There are a lot of stories surrounding the fact that organizations and their representatives go to extreme lengths to address client issues and help satisfy them.
The phrase “The customer is always right” was originally coined in 1909 by Harry Gordon Selfridge, the founder of Selfridge’s department store in London, and has since been typically used by businesses to convince customers that they will get good service at this company and convince employees to give customers good service.
While this is generally true, and customer satisfaction is imperative to any business but imagine a scenario in which the client isn’t right. How do you tackle such a situation? Are there times when it’s smarter to tell the client that they’re wrong?
The answer is YES!
Truth be told, treating the clients like they are constantly right can really be destructive to your business and ironically, leads to worse customer service because it makes employees unhappy, gives customers an unfair advantage and frankly, some customers are just bad for business.
Let’s take an example. A lady who frequently flew on Southwest Airlines was continually disappointed with every aspect of the organization’s operation. In fact, she ended up being known as the “Pen Pal” to the Southwest Airline staff as after every flight she took, she submitted a complaint.
She didn’t like the fact that the company didn’t assign seats; she didn’t like the absence of a first-class section; she didn’t like not having a meal in flight; she didn’t like Southwest’s boarding procedure; she didn’t like the flight attendants’ sporty uniforms and the casual atmosphere.
Her last letter, filled with complaints, briefly stumped Southwest’s customer relations people. They bumped it up to Herb Kelleher (CEO of Southwest at the time) desk, with a note: ‘This one is yours.’ In sixty seconds Kelleher wrote back and said, ‘Dear Mrs. Crabapple, we will miss you. Love, Herb.’” In an article on Floship, the author gives 7 reasons why this practice is bad for business.
- A business has limited resources
- Its makes your employees miserable
- The customer is not the expert, you are
- It pits management and customers against the employees
- You don’t want every customer
- The customer wants to maintain the norm
- Bad customers create bad experiences for others.