The question was posed awhile back: "Is the customer always right?"
What brought this discussion to my mind was an article I read recently about Macy's department stores and their customer service policies. Certainly every retail establishment is faced with the challenge of dealing with customer service issues and online businesses are no different.
If you've been selling online for any length of time you have faced situations where customers have contacted you with some type of issue and you, as the business owner, must decide how you will handle customer requests including refunds, complaints, charge-backs, missed deadlines, back orders, payment snafus, damaged or missing goods, perceived false claims, special handling, etc.
When I was a teenager my family lived in Illinois south of Chicago. I remember on several occasions shopping at Marshall Field's department store in "the loop" where the customer service motto was "Give the lady what she wants!" Marshall Field's became famous for that phrase and it was the philosophy of their customer service approach - regardless of the problem - keep the customer happy and satisfied with every "issue" outcome.
Marshall Field's was acquired by Macy's but the service department is still known for its generous customer friendly policies. "Give the lady what she wants" and the more well known phrase "The customer is always right" suggests a service approach that some businesses swear by . . . and other businesses swear at! The latter often hold their ground and refuse to coddle customers that take undue advantage of their business.
So what do you think?
As an online business owner you will sooner or later be faced with the question of how you deal with difficult and sometimes heated customer service issues. Some businesses have even chosen to make "unrivaled customer service" their USP (unique selling proposition) - the "thing" they want to be known for in their niche! It's the "thing" they feel sets them apart from competing businesses. But is such a forgiving posture good for business?
From a practical and literal standpoint, we all know that the customer is not always right. In fact, some customers make a habit of complaining, asking for refunds, and expecting special treatment that works to their own advantage. The anonymity of the Internet, IMO, has contributed to empowering customers and caused some to increasingly take unwarranted advantage of online businesses.
Nevertheless, there are still many businesses that want to extend every courtesy possible to the customer, even if it occasionally costs them money when they know that the customer is wrong or at fault in the issue. Let's face it, IMO, many customers do not read online "policies" and "terms and conditions" which could alleviate a lot of customer service issues.
How do you feel? Maybe some discussion will help you better understand the issues and possible solutions to this quandary.
The best to all of you,