The principle that “the customer is always right” is a widely used guideline in the business world to guide customer service strategies, processes, and practices. While the phrase is often used as a slogan, it is not always literally true and is meant to convey a positive attitude and approach to serving customers. This principle is based on the idea that customer satisfaction is crucial for the success of a business, and that providing excellent service and addressing customer concerns should be a top priority. While it is important to listen to and take into account the feedback and needs of customers, it is also essential for businesses to set boundaries and maintain standards of professionalism and fairness in their interactions with customers. Ultimately, the goal of this principle is to ensure that customers have a positive experience and are satisfied with the products and services offered by a business. As a principle, the customer is always right can be applied in several ways:
If the customer says something is broken, trust them. From a commercial perspective, there is often nothing to be gained from accusing a customer of being wrong or exaggerating the truth. For example, many retail brands will except returns on a no-questions-asked basis in order to impress customers and build brand value.
Perceived Problems vs Problems
If a customer sees a problem with your products or services, it’s a problem to them. It is often counterproductive to argue that it’s not a problem. For example, a restaurant server might simply apologize that a customer’s food is too cold even if they secretly believe it was served at the right temperature.
Customers want you to respect them as individuals. It’s often more productive to respect your customers without judgement. This includes treating them with politeness and respecting their intelligence by listening to them with intent to understand. For example, a technical service representative may listen intently to a customer’s description of a problem, even if the customer describes the problem in difficult to understand non-technical terms.
It’s typically impossible to incorporate every customer suggestion into your products or processes. However, it’s often useful to consider each suggestion with the assumption that it could be helpful.
It’s easier to sell a product that customers already want than to change their minds about something. If customers are convinced that pickup trucks are great, give them pickup trucks.