Leadership | No, the customer isn't always right...

No, the customer isn't always right...

Regardless of the circumstances, when you work in a customer-facing industry, it’s drummed into your head that the customer is always right.

Even if they’re not, you’re told to force a smile, remain professional and deliver service to a high standard. When the tables turn and you are the disgruntled customer, you still expect this level of service from the employee serving you. You feel it is your divine right to get the outcome that you want because you are paying for a product or service. However, a Huffington Post contributor is calling on employers to get rid of this phrase on the proviso that it stamps out even worse customer service.

He offered five reasons why the ‘Customer is always right phrase’ is wrong:

Unhappy employees

It is inevitable that dealing with a disgruntled customer will dampen an employee’s mood. For this reason, he explained that management should be loyal to their employees. Gordon Bethune, a retired US airline executive said: “When we run into customers that we can’t reel back in, our loyalty is with our employees. They have to put up with this stuff every day. Just because you buy a ticket does not give you the right to abuse our employees…”

Some customers are just bad for business

In this instance, it’s not about quantity, it’s about quality. There is no harm in cancelling a contract and severing ties with a bad customer. It shouldn’t even be based on the financial loss of losing a customer, the decision should be measured on the simple matter of mutual respect for one another. And ultimately, employees shouldn’t be expected to go to work and stay tight-lipped when customers hurl abuse at them.

Horrible customers are given an unfair advantage

Enforcing the idea that “customers are always right” gives abusive customers room to demand just about anything, so employees will struggle to rein them in. Additionally, they are treated more favourably than those customers who are nice. So, cutting out abusive employees will ensure that only pleasant, loyal customers will return.

Poor customer service

Putting employees first and backing their decisions is the best way to keep employees on side. If they are happy at work then they will be able to give better customer service and have more enthusiasm when doing their job.

Customers may just be in the wrong – even if they won’t admit it

Herb Kelleher, an American billionaire airline executive once said that customers aren’t always right: “And I think that’s one of the biggest betrayals of employees a boss can possibly commit. The customer is sometimes wrong. We don’t carry those sorts of customers. We write to them and say, ‘Fly somebody else. Don’t abuse our people.’”

What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below…

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