Are Customers {Still} Always Right?

The old adage in customer services has always been that “the customer is always right.” Does this still hold true? It is clearly evident that customers contribute to the lifeblood of all businesses, via revenue. Therefore, should customers have the dominant voice  always be considered right? At Input Ladder, we advocate that the customer shouldn’t always be right, just most of the time. There are multiple reasons for this.

First, most businesses, regardless of industry, cater to the needs of a very diverse demographic. Therefore, the customer base of these businesses will have differing perceptions of your brand, experiences with your brand, as well as expectations of your brand. Your business is built on a specific mission, vision and values. These values should not be compromised at any point, for no one. If you are asking yourself how not compromising your values correlates with the customer always being right, recall some of the more extreme requests that you have received from your customers. Have you had a customer ask you to adjust your product/service to reflect something other than what it was intended for? Have you had a customer expect you to bend your rules on something “because they didn’t know?” Have you had a customer attempt to verbally abuse, manipulate or disrespect your team members or staff?

If you can answer yes to any of the previous questions, then you need to reevaluate what effect that it may have had on your message to your employees, your company’s mission/values, or if it compromised or set a negative precedent for your company. Customers don’t always understand your business. They often don’t care about your business. What they do care about is how the product/service or transaction benefits them. If you compromise you compromise your company once, it is critical to consider what effect it may have in the future. You may be saying that making small compromises to one or two customers here and there isn’t a bad thing. True, as long as this exception doesn’t become the norm.

To be clear, it should be noted that we think that customers should receive as much value as they can from your company, as long as it is not at the expense of your company. Giving a refund or freebie, customizing a product, or apologizing to an unruly customer doesn’t normally constitute bending rules or compromising. Just be sure that you are setting a great example for your employees, co-workers and or management team.

How does your organization deal with customers who demand to be right? What concessions are you willing to make or not make? We would love to hear from you. Leave a comment below.