You have heard this statement over and over again – the customer is always right. The statement is used to justify the behaviour and complaints about the product that a business is selling. Perhaps it’s true to some extent. It’s good to treat your customer well because this is how you generate brand loyalty. This is how you get more customers through word-of-mouth advertising. Perhaps this statement is in relation to understanding your target niche so that you can be able to serve them effectively.
However, there are a few reasons as to why I don’t believe that the customer is always right.
- The customer cannot be an expert at your product.
It is belittling to say that the customer is always right when you are the one who has produced a good or service. You know the product better than the customer ever will. The customer cannot be an expert when it comes to your product. If you think about it, even though they are the recipients of the products, customers are not omniscient. I mean, if we’re talking in terms of a product malfunction or poor service, then the customer may just be right. But other issues to do with the product, I believe that the seller understands his product better than anyone ever will.
2. This statement demotivates the employees
Saying that the customer is always right can demotivate the employees. This is because some customers are blatantly abusive, verbally and physically. Others pick up on petty issues and blow them out of proportion. If you tell your employees to treat the customer like they’re always right, you may be doing more harm than good to your valuable employees. I’m not saying the employee should talk back at the customer, but sometimes it’s good to let the customer know that you value your employees as well. Not just them.
3. Customers will always react differently to changes in a product
The customer will always react differently to changes in a product or service. When you make certain changes to your product in terms of things like packaging, colour, cost, size, you risk receiving backlash. Some customers may even end up complaining about things that they’re imagining rather than things that are actually real. Customers like to maintain the norm. To say that the customer is always right, even when they’re not, may make you the loser. Because if you listen to each and every customer and pay attention to their particular needs, you will forget your target audience altogether. In the long run, your product will lack authenticity. I’d say, some customer complaints are to be dismissed.
4. Bad customers create an unhappy mood for other people
Bad customers will also create an unhappy mood around other people. We have all been to a shop where a customer is yelling at the top of their voice. It’s never a pretty scene. In fact, when this happens, you almost want to finish your business as fast as you can and leave. It is obvious that the experience of one bad customer affects the other customers and potential customers. If you constantly put up with such customers, living with the mentality that the customer is always right, you may end up being the loser. You might just lose your important and regular customers.
5. The statement creates conflict between the managers and the employees
This statement does more harm than good in an organization. It creates conflict between the employees and the management because every time a customer complains the managers will be quick to defend the customer. This is extremely unhealthy in an organization. It creates fear and the productivity is lowered. Which is why sometimes customers aren’t always right.
6. It results in worse customer service
Saying that the customer is always right may just result in worse customer service. Employees who are happy will willingly give good customer service because they care more and have more energy. When the company management consistently sides with the customers, even those who are wrong, it sends a clear message that the employees are not valued and can be disposed of. Employees eventually stop caring about the service and end up performing worse.
So if your business is governed by this statement, you may just want to rethink it. In the long run, it may just be what is standing between you and success.
Kenyan businesses need better customer service