The Customer May Be King, But Is the Customer Always Right? A SuccessStory Investigation
Here’s a sentence that you might have heard several times before: “The customer is always right.” For so long, people everywhere have been introduced to this particular refrain at various points in their life that a lot of individuals actually take it for granted. There’s also the fact that there are countless stories, anecdotes, and testimonials out there of businesses and companies going out of their way to ensure that the needs of their customers are consistently met. But here’s a radical thought that might turn the gears in your mind: what if the customer isn’t always right?
Such an idea might be considered as blasphemous to most businesses since a lot of entrepreneurs are hardwired to think about pleasing their consumer base at all times. But when you really think about it, this kind of thinking seems too one-sided in that it gives too much power to the customer and might end up taking advantage of a company’s goodwill. And whenever the customer is in that kind of position, it could really spell serious trouble for any business that has always catered to the whims and desires of their clients.
If you happen to be a business owner, then you certainly know the struggle of providing exceptional customer service but also trying to make sure that consumers aren’t treating you like a doormat at all times. You have to remind yourself that you’re still running a business and that you have a bottom line to constantly think about, and giving in to your customers every single time could very well drive you out of business. It’s high time for you to put your foot down, draw the line, and understand why the customer isn’t always right.
Your resources aren’t unlimited
Companies are all about the bottom line, and as much as they want to please their customers all the time, they are aware of the fact that their products and services don’t just magically come from an unlimited source. In fact, your resources aren’t the only things that have limits, but your patience—and that of your employees—also have limits when it comes to dealing with hordes of unsatisfied customers.
What you can do is to simply do your best to address an issue every time a customer confronts you with a complaint. And if they are still not pleased despite your best efforts, then you must not feel guilty about moving on. Remember, you have a responsibility to think about the bigger picture when it comes to your business, and so you should always focus your efforts on people who appreciate what you do for them as a provider.
You’re risking employee resentment
As an entrepreneur, you’re not exactly the first line of defense when it comes to dealing with customers on a daily basis. Your employees are the ones who have to face the complaints of your clients, and if you insist on teaching your staff members that customers are always right, then it might backfire on you because this could create an aura of resentment from your subordinates. And if your employees are starting to feel negative emotions towards you, then you’re going to have to deal with two problems now.
Telling your employees that the customers are always right also carries the implication that you care more about the clients more than them, which creates a one-sided professional relationship. This is not fair to your staff—or to your customers, for that matter—because when you take sides, it creates a structural imbalance that could mean the downfall of your business. Proper training of your employees is necessary to ensure that they are able to handle customers at all times without always giving in to what they want.
Bad customers really do exist
Whether you choose to believe this or not, there is such a thing as bad customers, and they could very well spell trouble for your business if you don’t handle them properly. You can easily identify if a customer is of the unsavory variety if they frequently complain about your company despite your business doing quite well, have unfounded accusations against your brand, and most egregiously, abuse and belittle your employees whenever they try to follow protocol for proper customer service.
Remember this: as the proprietor of a business, you have the right to refuse customers if you are aware that they are actively and consciously disrespecting your staff or besmirching the name of your good brand for no justifiable reason. This might hurt your revenue in the short term, but you’ll thank yourself in the long haul for turning away people that will only create unwanted chaos on your business. Furthermore, it is your duty to protect both your employees and your good customers from associating with such bad clients.
Customers aren’t the experts. You are.
Customers may complain, whine, and argue all they like, but at the end of the day, it’s you and your employees who know your products or services better than them. When you frequently place the customer in a position of power, it gives them the wrong asssumption that they know more about your business, and that’s not a good thing. Such presumptions could very well lead to friction between your employees and customers who voice out opinions that your business should do this or do that in order to satisfy consumers.
Therefore, it is your responsibility to assume the role of the expert because you are the one who is providing consumers with what they need. It can be dangerously easy to come across as arrogant or obnoxious when dealing with customers and telling them that you are right, but there is a way wherein you can let them show you know more than them without feeling that they’re being patronized. Be calm and composed at all times when educating them about your brand so they’ll come to realize that you are on their side.
You can never please everyone
Striving to please everyone can be incredibly taxing on your part, and by extension, your business as a whole. You need to be aware of the fact that people will always have firm opinions on certain things, and no matter what you try to do, you can never change how they feel or think about you. This is especially true in the world of business and commerce because no two consumers share the same views on one particular brand. One might react positively to your company, while another might think you don’t pass their high standards.
Of course, customers are always entitled to their own opinions, and as such, you should never take it against them if they feel that you aren’t giving them the treatment they think they deserve. There are much better ways for you to make use of your time than consistently bending over backwards to please your clients. You shouldn’t feel too bad if you’re going to lose some customers from time to time, but you always need to look on the bright side because there will always be people out there who will end up being part of your faithful and supportive group of customers.