Customers Are Not Always Right and Here’s Why

‘The customer is always right.’ movement started at the break of the century, when treating customers with care and respect was not a thing. 

Nowadays, the principles of every business revolve around the happiness of the customers, but must that mean they are always right? Well, the answer really is ‘no’, and here’s why you should restrain yourself from supporting this ideology.

It leads to poor customer service

Following ‘The customer is always right.’ mindset sets up unrealistic expectations that are hard to meet. Sometimes customers are just wrong, and you cannot do anything to justify that. 

Imagine the following, the retail company you represent has a thirty-day money-back guarantee policy. You get a call from a customer who bought a shirt fifty days ago and now wants to return it. He claims that the thirty-day policy is not mentioned anywhere on the e-shop’s website, and he puts the blame on the company for not communicating clearly. What do you do? Say you make an exception just this one time, and you proceed with the refund accepting that the customer is right. He will surely come back with the same demand later on, and you can’t make exceptions all the time, can you? So, what will happen is that he will eventually stop buying from you.

To avoid situations like that when clients are misinformed, do not try to justify their mistake in fear of losing them. Just kindly explain the regulations instead. Be proactively helpful and give tips, but do not allow them to impose a right that they do not have. 

It can result in diminishing team culture

Suppose you manage a team of care agents, and you propel them to sustain the ‘customer is always right’ ideology. It might work at the beginning, but it will surely cause damage to your team culture in the long run. Why?Because you will put them in a position that can be both demoralizing and demotivating, not to mention extremely frustrating. There will be many rude and demanding clients that will come along, and despite the team’s best efforts, a positive outcome will not always be achievable. Taking the customers’ side without them even deserving the support will slowly destroy your work environment. And retaining quality employees is just as important as retaining clients.

It gives bad customers an advantage

Unhappy’ customers can demand just about anything

And as much as you want to make them happy, you cannot possibly make all their wishes come true. It’s practically impossible, although they will definitely ask for it.

Tolerating their attitude is not sustainable, and it will cost you a lot later on because by giving them what they want, you train them to want more. Those are not the customers you want to have. 

Shift your energy and efforts towards the loyal clients and the prospects you want to draw. It makes much more sense to do so.

Final thoughts

‘The customer is always right.’ was, in fact, never meant to be taken literally. It was created to change customer service, which it did, and the time has come to rethink its applicability.  

Respect your customers but set boundaries straight. Design a thoughtful and goal-centric experience strategy and stay free from outdated approaches that harm more than help.

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