Let’s Analyze the Question: Is The Customer Always Right?
The question “Is the customer always right?” is based on the principle of making customer satisfaction a high priority in any business. It does not mean that customers are in fact always right. It means that the customer should be made to feel that they are right, even when they are not.
Customers should always feel that their opinions matter. When a customer feels that their point of view is disregarded, they will start to look elsewhere to take their business.
Is the customer is always right? There’s a high chance they are in their own mind. Convincing a customer that they are wrong without losing their trust (or the sale) can be a tricky conversation to navigate. In this article, we look at how to handle customer demands in a tactful way without causing frustration, anger, and disappointment.
Tips to Deal with a Customer Who Thinks They are Right
- Stay neutral. Do not agree with the customer if you know for certain they are wrong as this may place unrealistic expectations on you. However, do not disagree with the customer as they will become argumentative.
- Focus on the positive.
- Do not say “No” or “You are wrong”.
- Do not waste time focusing on who is right or wrong. Instead, focus on a solution and what you can do to help the customer.
What to Say to a Customer When They are Wrong
Customers can make mistakes, get confused, and exaggerate. Despite this, you can still appease them by making them ‘feel right’ by agreeing with what they value. Here are 3 examples of what you can say to a disgruntled customer.
- Customer: “Your price is too high.”
Employee response: “You deserve great value for your money.”
- Customer: “Your staff is rude.”
Employee: “You always deserve our courtesy and respect.”
- Customer: “You people are so bureaucratic.”
Employee: “Let’s see just how flexible we can be for you.”
Is The Customer Always Right? New Viewpoint to Adopt
The following 4 scenarios depict situations where it may be beneficial to let the customer feel that they are right, even if they are not.
- The Customer Makes the Business
Without customers, you have no business. If a long-standing customer who is of high value to your company has an issue, it can be worth pleasing the customer instead of proving that they are wrong. Losing a valuable customer to something trivial can cost your business a lot in the long run. Your goal should be to focus on customer retention by empowering the customer through excellent service.
Example: A customer uses your print services every week. He receives 10 pages of requested copies from a staff member in black instead of color print. It is not worth fighting over what was requested if your client is adamant that he requested color prints.
Rather, focus on the solution and make the color copies. It is better to appease your loyal customer in this case than to make them feel that you do not appreciate their continued support.
As a business you want customers to return feeling valued. Many businesses lose sight of the fact that they can lose everything without the support and loyalty of their customers.
- Devastating Repercussions
The backlash from unhappy customers can be devastating to your business. A customer who has had an incredibly poor experience may leave harsh reviews online and on social media.
People of high influence or social standing in your community can also cause a lot of damage by what they say about your business. Consider whether the situation is worth the risk of a poor reputation and its long-term effects on your business.
- Ethical Behaviour
Customer service often entails having to put your own ego aside to please someone else. If you are in a customer-facing position one of your main tasks is to enhance the business’ reputation by treating customers in a way that makes them feel valued. A customer service role is not a position in which you get to prove how great and correct you are. It is about how great you can make your customer feel.
- Setting a Standard of Customer Service Excellence
Customer service experiences are one of the main causes of customer retention or loss. When employees know that your service policy embraces the viewpoint that ‘the customer is always right,’ they will be less likely to blame their own mistakes on customer behavior. Staff will go out of their way to communicate effectively and go the extra mile to avoid misunderstandings.
Employees will also make sure that their actions towards the customer are blameless so that no fingers can be pointed at them. Your employees need to care as much as you do about establishing a loyal customer base. They should clearly understand the importance of their behavior on business success.
Times When “The Customer is Always Right” Can be Harmful to Your Business
The following scenarios depict situations where it may not be in your, your company’s, or your employees’ best interest to acknowledge a customer’s incorrect assumption or attitude.
- Unhappy Employees and Poor Company Culture
Always favoring the client, regardless of whether their argument is valid or not, can undermine the opinion and expertise of your employees. When hard-working, skilled employees feel undervalued a poor company culture starts to develop.
If your employees are doing a good job but a client comes with unreasonable demands and complaints, side with your team. Just because a client gives you business does not mean they can abuse your staff. Staff who feel undermined and unhappy in what they do will naturally stop putting as much effort into developing the business and meeting standard requirements.
- Customers Exploit Unfair Advantages
When a client knows that a manager will bend over backward to make them happy, they start to assume they can request whatever they like. These types of demanding clients easily get treated better than ordinary clients who complain less but bring just as much value to your business.
Some customers will never be satisfied regardless of how much you go out of your way for them. They will make outrageous demands, frustrate employees, and create an unpleasant environment for other clients.
Your clients should respect your business, employees, and other clients in the same manner that you show respect to them. Consider the quality of your clients over the quantity.
- Clients Drain Your Resources
As a business your resources are limited. Your time, energy, workforce, and patience need to exist for a range of clients, not only one. You and your colleagues in customer support are the experts in your field. If you have done your best to resolve your client’s query, and there is genuinely nothing more you can do for them, don’t be afraid to refer them kindly to someone who can suitably meet their needs.
Never allow a customer to abuse your employees. Never allow a customer to abuse your resources at the expense of other clients.
Making your customers feel that they are always right will keep them calm and keep things moving in the right direction.
Give customers the benefit of being right when:
- They are the backbone of your business
- The damage control required after their bad reviews will be too costly for your business
- You are displaying ethical behavior
- You are setting excellent service standards
It is not in your best interest to acknowledge a customer’s incorrect assumptions when:
- It devalues your employees’ expertise and efforts
- They exploit unfair advantages
- They drain your resources
So is the customer always right? Even though the customer is not always right you can still make them feel that they are right. You don’t out rightly need to side with them, but you can agree on what they value, whether it be good service, fair pricing, or efficient time management.
CustomersFirst Academy offers comprehensive customer service training designed to help you grow your skills and advance your career.
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