TOP 5 REASONS WHY “THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT” IS WRONG
TOP 5 REASONS “THE CUSTOMER EVER RIGHTS” IS FALSE
Your business will not be successful if the customer isn’t satisfied
A woman who regularly flew Southwest was always disappointed with Southwest’s service. In fact, she became known by the nickname “Pen Pal” as she sent in complaints after each flight.
She disliked the fact that Southwest did not assign seats.
Southwest’s customer support team was temporarily baffled when she wrote her last letter. It contained a series of complaints. They brought it up to Herb’s (CEO of Southwest), desk with a note: ‘This one’s yours.
Kelleher returned the message in sixty seconds. Love, Herb. ‘“
Harry Gordon Selfridge, founder of Selfridge’s department shop in London in 1909, coined the phrase “The client is always right”. It is commonly used by businesses to:
Convince your customers that you will provide excellent service to them at this company
Get employees to provide good customer service.
Fortunately, businesses are abandoning this maxim more often than ever — ironically, because it leads to bad customer services.
These are the top five reasons that “The customer always wins” is not true.
1: It makes workers unhappy
Gordon Bethune (as Herb Kelleher, coincidentally), a brash Texan who is best remembered for turning Continental Airlines around from “From Worst-to First,” a book he wrote with the same title in 1998. He wanted to make sure customers and workers liked how Continental treated them.
He will always stand with his people in disputes between employees, customers, and others. Here’s his take:
We will always be loyal to our employees, even if we have to turn away customers. They must put up with all of this every day. The fact that you purchased a ticket does NOT give you the right of abuse to our employees. . .
Each month we check our books on more than 3,000,000 people. One or two of these people will be unreasonable and demand jerks. It’s up to you to decide which side you will be on.
You cannot treat your employees as serfs. You must respect them. . . Resentment can result from even the smallest of problems.
Bethune values his employees more than unreasonable customers. I like this attitude. It balances employees over customers. The “always right” maxim favours the customer. Bethune states that this can lead to resentment among employees.
There are many instances of poor employees providing lousy customer services. However, claiming that customers are always right is counterproductive.
2: It gives abrasive customer an unfair edge
Abuseful customers can ask for anything, and they are always right. This makes it even more difficult for employees trying to rein in abusive customers.
It means that abusive individuals get better treatment than those who are nice. That was always wrong to me. To keep customers coming back, it makes more sense be nice to them.
3: Some customers are not good for business
Most businesses believe that the more customers, the better. Some customers are just bad for business.
ServiceGruppen is a Danish IT provider.
To our great surprise, a service technician arrived at the site to complete a maintenance task. However, the customer treated him extremely rudely.
He finished the task and returned back to the office. After telling management, he shared his experiences. The customer’s contract was promptly cancelled by the company.
ServiceGruppen fired a bad customer just as Kelleher dismissed the complaining lady (but still flew Southwest). It was not a matter of financial calculations — it wasn’t a question about whether one company would make or loose money on the customer over the long term. Respect and dignity were the key factors. Employees should be treated with respect.
4: It results is worse customer service
Rosenbluth International was a corporate travel agent. Hal Rosenbluth (CEO) wrote an excellent book about his approach, Put the Customer second — Put your employees first and watch them kick butt.
Rosenbluth says that customers and employees will always come first when you put them first. Happier employees will work harder. Employees who feel happy at work provide better customer service.
They care about customers more than other people.
They have more power
They are happy which means they are more engaging to chat with and interact with.
They are more motivated
It is a different message if the company’s management stands with customers and not with employees.
People aren’t valued by employees
It is not important to treat your employees fairly
Employees have no right not to be treated with respect by customers
This means that employees must be willing to endure anything from customers
If this attitude prevails, employees lose sight of the importance of service. Real good service becomes almost impossible when this attitude prevails. Fake good customer service is all that customers have. You are aware of the kind I’m referring to: corteous on its surface only.
5: There are some customers who just plain lie
Herb Kelleher concurs, as is this passage From Nuts! Southwest Airlines:
Herb Kelleher […] emphasizes the importance of his employees, even if this means that customers are dismissed. But are customers not always right? Kelleher snaps “No, no, they aren’t.” “And I believe that’s one the most grave betrayals of employees that a boss could make. Sometimes, the customer is wrong. We don’t have such customers. We write to them and ask that they fly someone else. Don’t be rude to our people. Lottery Where as You Could’ve Gone For Raising the Heck Out of Your Term Life .