Is the customer always right?

If you hold a position as a supplier, you may see with different eyes the expression “the customer is always right”.

It’s pretty obvious the customer’s importance should not be underestimated, as he is the reason why your business (even if it’s not your own) exists.

always right

The most often mistake companies make is to treat errors as statistics and later pat each other’s back, “C’mon, we are still better than others!”. Each client should be treated differently and each problem should be regarded as a learning experience, so next time you’ll do right. If you sneeze on the mirror and wipe it with a Kleenex, you might do more damage than cleaning the mirror, like smudge it.

Even non-profit organization have their own “clients”, whom they have to convince to invest: money, time, donations, etc.

In the case of companies, if you don’t interact directly with the external customers, you have internal customers, those for whom you are making a product, a report or answer to their email. No matter the department, you have customers, from IT support to accounting, or from the janitor to the CEO. If you are a manager, your customers are first your subordinates, who in their turn have to serve others, but also in the Customer category is your boss, his colleagues, and your manager’s boss. To be precise, you are surrounded by customers which, directly or not, can let you go, either formally or not.

If you didn’t succeed in satisfying the client (or the employee) there’s a big probability he will leave for another “provider”, in this case, a different manager. The scientists from Gallup, tell us what is the impact of a bad manager on the employees.

If the department you work for has no customers (even internal ones), it shouldn’t exist, and when you have to do something for someone, that someone is your client.

If you are a customer, you’d probably want your car to run smoothly for a long time, which is quite normal considering the price you paid for it. So it happens that different defects occur shortly after purchase, the main reason for the law enforced guarantee. If the car stops running before leaving for your wedding, the car producer becomes the saddest bastard on the planet. This usually happens when you add an emotional component to a problem and the car manufacturer can become the scapegoat for everything that goes wrong with the wedding. In those particular moments, the customer doesn’t really give a rat’s ass about your babbling apologies, you just didn’t deliver what was asked of you.

When they feel treated unfairly, people have a natural tendency to change behavior: they become angry, raise the voice or even yell, threaten or contradict the others non-stop. Such attitude won’t solve the problem, and in some cases could even turn it into worse.

When we look things from the other perspective, the supplier’s, we might realize how serious the problem actually is and look for a solution. We mustn’t forget that the price paid by the customer generates some expectations, even if they may not be always realistic.

Yes, when looking from the other perspective, the customer is always right, even when his/her opinion is subjective. Your duty towards the customer is to always make sure that after a negative experience, even if the harm is already done, he’d still be using your services. If not, he may never forget you. Let him “cool off” and after a while, you may approach him/her again.
Good luck keeping the customers!