How many times have we heard it said,
Except when the customer isn’t right —
which is a lot more often than it used to be, back when the world was flat and customer bases were limited to the farm next door which might happen to be like 100 miles away or whatever.
The idea that the customer is always right is only true if you’re selling generic bull-crap to a large and diverse crowd, instead of specializing in one small item or service which caters to a particular crowd. Not everything is cut out for everyone. And contrary to popular belief, you can’t always have it “your” way, and it really just isn’t always “fair”. Sometimes, you get it the way it’s made, because that’s the product for sale, no substitutions allowed. And if that seems rough, then don’t buy it, silly-head!
There are times when it truly is okay to say to a customer, “Perhaps this isn’t the best choice for you.”
There are times when not saying so, when bowing to social pressure, is simply copping out and taking the easy path. There are times when skipping this option can actually be really, really bad for business. Like when I’m the customer in line behind the cranky witch who just got her way by being a nasty hag.
On a small scale,
belligerent customers make less angry customers feel like they are getting cheated: “Oh, I guess if I want the *better* (insert correct answer: sale price or treatment or return policy or whatnot or what have you), being loud and rude is obviously the way to go.”
This is the lesson you teach under “The customer is always right” line of thought: “Please, abuse me and my staff, because that’s how you get the best deal. We love being insulted! Go ahead, wave your scary finger at me and get all haughty and mighty and huffy and mean. Because YOU, Mr or Ms Customer, are right. Your crappy behavior right there… it is so RIGHT.”
On a much larger scale,
crumbling in the face of naughty behavior reinforces it, which to anyone who knows anything about right from wrong, is completely immoral. While I am not always the nicest person, I do strive to be better each day. Part of that means protecting those within my care, whether it’s my product or my coworker or my staff. No one, absolutely NO ONE, will enter my business (via physical doors or online portal) and get nasty toward me or my staff. You don’t like it, that’s okay, because we are both clear on what is considered acceptable under the terms of purchase. If we’re making an exchange of goods and services, by golly, let’s set up an amicable partnership. If we don’t like each other, we really have no business doing business. Savvy?
I will never, ever live under the credo that the customer is always right.
Objectivity and logic are always right. Compassion and cooperation are always right. If you like what I gots… buy it. If you don’t like what I gots, that’s okay too. I wish you good fortune. No need for either of us to drag each other down into the mud. And no need for the nice folks behind you to get the idea that talking to me in such fashion is going to win them any prizes. Maybe the finger-waving works in other business venues, but not here!
What’s your stance on customer service?
Is the customer always right?