A Customer Is Always Right. Do You Agree With This Statement?

by King Shiloh Banned
115 replies
I have always heard this saying from offline customers in Nigeria. Do you agree with the statement?

As for me, I don't just get it because some customers are really something else. That is, they can really get to your nerves even when you are trying to be as nice as possible to them.

Are online customers always right too?
#agree #customer #statement
  • Profile picture of the author money2k
    Nope. I was always taught that the customer is ALWAYS right. after working with customers for over 15 years I can tell you that they are NOT always right.
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  • Profile picture of the author KarlWarren
    How about this?

    The customer always THINKS they are right.

    Years and years of sales and customer service roles taught be to bite my tongue, nod in the right places and then gently bend the customer's thoughts where needed.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jesus Perez
    The customer is always right...until they're wrong.
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  • Profile picture of the author BIG Mike
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    • Profile picture of the author Russ Emrick
      Originally Posted by BIG Mike View Post

      The customer is not always right....but they are always the customer
      Darn it - Big Mike, you stole my thunder. My first sales manager taught me that and I never forgot it. Right or wrong isn't the issue - do you want their money? If so you have to make them happy.

      Perception is truth. Their perception is the reality you have to deal with. Ignore all the other noise you hear here that says the contrary. Do you want their money?

      How do you buy? Do you shop at places that argue with you?

      I'll never forget the incident that cryslized this for me. I got served a raw chicken dinner. It was inedible and so I complained. The chef came out and defended his cooking. Why, he asked, was I the only customer that complained? I don't know, but I never ate there again, neither did my parents, my friends, or anyone I had influence with. Look 25 years later I'm telling this story.

      Was I right? Don't know - but that restaurant owner is certainly poorer.

      "The customer may not always be right but they are ALWAYS the customer." Words to live by.
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    • Profile picture of the author impulsell
      Originally Posted by BIG Mike View Post

      The customer is not always right....but they are always the customer
      Couldn't have said it better.
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  • Profile picture of the author Loren Woirhaye
    Customers are often not right, but you can learn a lot
    more from unhappy customers than happy ones.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rod Cortez
    I've attended well over 11 customer service seminar / workshops in my lifetime and not once has any of the expert panel of speakers ever said the customer is always right.

    Like Big Mike stated, the customer is always the customer. Though sometimes you have to fire the really unruly ones.

    RoD "My-Coffee-Beans-Are-Always-Right!" Cortez
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    • Profile picture of the author Mr.Williamstn
      The customer is always right but you always gain knowlege from wrong and right customers.
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  • Profile picture of the author KarlWarren
    Here's another one...

    the customer has the right to THINK they are right.

    I like BigMike's one best though - it is too true. If a customer is paying you for a service, it is up to you to provide that service. If the customer is an ass, and it's within you to let that fly over your head, do so - and learn more about the customer, as it might turn them into the kind of customer you dream of.
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  • Profile picture of the author dave147
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    • Profile picture of the author BrendanBurner
      Originally Posted by dave147 View Post

      The reason why the customer is "always right" is because in business, that is where the money is. It is because of this the customer is always right even though they are wrong. So when they are wrong, they are right
      I agree the customer is always right and dave has summed up exactly why here even when they are wrong you just gotta grit ya teeth and say yes sir/madam no problem kissing arse is sometimes the only option

      Regards Brendan
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    • Profile picture of the author Victoria Neely
      It doesn't matter whether the customer is online or offline. The customer is NOT always right, no matter how much they might scream this mantra at you.

      Originally Posted by dave147 View Post

      The reason why the customer is "always right" is because in business, that is where the money is. It is because of this the customer is always right even though they are wrong. So when they are wrong, they are right
      This is what I was told: The customer is always right UNTIL the point where you start losing money.
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  • Profile picture of the author TheDebtEliminator
    Best to try hard to solve their problems

    It is difficult to repair your damaged reputation

    When a customer is been nasty and repeats this behavior ... try to end the conversation and relationship ASAP

    Life is too short for a lot of stress

    Best Regards
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  • Profile picture of the author Nemanja
    Customer is not always right for sure, but you need to find solution to avoid problems..
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  • Profile picture of the author petelta
    Those that say the customer is always right are the ones that don't deal with the customer. They just see profit margins

    I own and run all aspects of my business and I've fired a few customers lol

    travis
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  • Profile picture of the author johnben1444
    Burger King has already said it all - Have It Your Way.

    Am sorry to dissappoint you but if you really want to make some money you have got to allow the customer **** on your face and what are you gona do - say sorry ofcourse for a crime you never commit.

    Thou i hate to admit this, the quest for money has made use lose our pride. So be it.
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    • Profile picture of the author BIG Mike
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      • Profile picture of the author Mike Anthony
        Originally Posted by BIG Mike View Post


        Fortunately, a microscopically small percentage of customers ever behave that way - you'll find the vast majority are good people and want a relationship rather than a fight.
        Yes and you'll find when you analyze it that the abusive customer is always the least profitable even when he isn't being abusive. The nicest customers I have are always the most profitable. They always buy the premium product because they see its value and they stay a customer for a long time.

        Thats why depending on the situation and why they are being abusive I show the "other" customers to the door the first time out.
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  • Profile picture of the author Cringer
    Sometimes it might pay you NOT to get that customer.

    For example I had one potential customer who insisted that I give him free services as he needed proof what I was offering would work for him. I explained that I have several customers in related industries (giving examples) and that's proof enough that it works. Demanding a free service (which would have cost me many hundreds of euro to demonstrate for him) was not something I was prepared to do. Of course there was the promise of bigger and more work etc but I had to make the call that if this is how I am being treated from the start then this is one customer I could do without.

    Every customer has the right to conduct business in a manner which they feel works for them, but for me I build relationships and for that to happen we both have to be happy or both get a mutual benefit. So for me the customer is not always right, but is entitled to conduct affairs as they deem fit which may or may not work for me.
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  • Profile picture of the author pyles
    I am a writer, and no, I do not agree. I have the ability to say "no" to people if they are becoming overly complex because of the market (lots of customers).

    Thanks.
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  • Profile picture of the author kswr123
    A customer is always right until he hits the refund button.

    Yes, its a very salesman approach. But it works.
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  • Profile picture of the author fredjr1978
    I dont think that this statement is 100% true all the time. Its a way to remind you as a business owner to respect your customers, without them you would be out of business. There are ways to make a customer feel as if they are right without giving them everything they need or want. This is all part of being in the customer service business, if you dont like it, get out!
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  • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
    Originally Posted by King Shiloh View Post

    I have always heard this saying from offline customers in Nigeria. Do you agree with the statement?

    As for me, I don't just get it because some customers are really something else. That is, they can really get to your nerves even when you are trying to be as nice as possible to them.

    Are online customers always right too?
    That's funny, here in the USA I usually hear that from customers that want me to do something I don't want to do. About the only ones who ever say it are customers that want something besides what they have.

    "I know I bought this three years ago and it looks like I dragged it here behind my truck, but I want a refund and the customer is always right..."

    "I know I ate all but a few bites of this dinner, but I think you should comp it for me because I'm the customer and the customer is always right..."

    I've never heard that line from a happy customer.

    My wife works at WalMart. After a few months, they promoted her to working the Customer Service desk. A couple of months later, she asked to move back to cashier due to the number of nasty "customers" who took things out on her. Most of them pulled out the "customer is always right" line and then got abusive. The same people turned meek as lambs when faced with a manager or supervisor. So easy to bark at someone when you know they can't bark back, much less bite.

    Over the years, I've found I get a better class of customers when I hear them out, stand my ground, and try to work out a reasonable solution. Maybe all it takes is an explanation. Maybe a refund or adjustment. And sometimes it's an agreement that someone else may meet their needs better.

    Sometimes the customer is right and I'm wrong. I can't prove it, but I've been told it has happened a couple of times...
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  • Profile picture of the author JonMills
    No they are not always right
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  • Profile picture of the author azland55
    Just let your customer think they are right while you know they are wrong, enjoy that inner knowledge.
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  • Profile picture of the author ChrisByrns
    you know what? ..when it comes to LOGO-DESIGN, almost 70% of the clients are *never* right.. lol, really. they always choose the ugliest/least professional designs, just because they simply don't have a clue what makes a good logo.
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    • Profile picture of the author KarlWarren
      Originally Posted by ChrisByrns View Post

      you know what? ..when it comes to LOGO-DESIGN, almost 70% of the clients are *never* right.. lol, really. they always choose the ugliest/least professional designs, just because they simply don't have a clue what makes a good logo.
      Have to agree with you there - I try to avoid logo design like the plague, often sending clients elsewhere. Sorry to say it, but there's just some design work I won't do.

      BTW, was interested in the graffiti product in your sig but it looks like a parked page??
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      • Profile picture of the author ChrisByrns
        Originally Posted by KarlWarren View Post

        Have to agree with you there - I try to avoid logo design like the plague, often sending clients elsewhere. Sorry to say it, but there's just some design work I won't do.

        BTW, was interested in the graffiti product in your sig but it looks like a parked page??
        jeah, i let that graffiti thing expire - should really update my sig more often
        ..and regarding the logo design: people really have to learn that designers are just that, designers.. if those clients already know exactly what they want/need, they should look for a student who knows to implement their idea in photoshop because then, everything they need is a technician.
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  • Profile picture of the author inijames
    We price our product so that when we have a problem customer we can refund the money, remove them from our list and have nothing to do with them again.
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  • Profile picture of the author Sparhawke
    I don't believe the customer is always right, truth be told,for the most part customers are complete idiots...they wouldn't know right if it smacked them across the chops with a baseball bat.

    This whole idea that "the customer is always right" is the one truly damaging motto that harms everyone, when are people ever going to take responsibility for their own actions?
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    • Profile picture of the author Reuven
      Originally Posted by Sparhawke View Post

      I don't believe the customer is always right, truth be told,for the most part customers are complete idiots...they wouldn't know right if it smacked them across the chops with a baseball bat.

      This whole idea that "the customer is always right" is the one truly damaging motto that harms everyone, when are people ever going to take responsibility for their own actions?

      I worked a lot of retail jobs and have to agree. Most customers are indeed idiots. And most of the time when they complain, they are wrong.

      A few years ago, some company, I think it was Phillips Electronics did an internal study that found that over 50 percent of the goods returned as defective worked perfectly. The customer just couldn't figure out how to use it. Phillips followed up this study by giving their own employees those products and over half gave up trying to use them within an hour claiming they were defective. So the sellers were idiots too.

      Actually, Phillips learned that most people are not willing to read the manuals and wanted a less complicated product they could figure out how to use without having to read the instructions.

      So sometimes the customer is an absolute idiot but sometimes that idiot provides valuable feedback.

      Reuven
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      • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
        Originally Posted by Robert Puddy View Post

        Nobody is ever always right...

        Even i was wrong once... 1967 I think it was
        Nope, it was 1968. Guess that makes twice now...
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  • Profile picture of the author Lloyd Buchinski
    I've heard that one of the little joys of police work is that the customer is always wrong.
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    • Profile picture of the author Nightengale
      Originally Posted by Lloyd Buchinski View Post

      I've heard that one of the little joys of police work is that the customer is always wrong.
      LOL I LOVE this! As someone who's just coming out of a call center (customer service) job and a TREMENDOUS amount of related stress, I can especially appreciate this.

      Thanks!
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      • Profile picture of the author davezan
        I once learned of a variation of that (in)famous saying. It went like this.

        The customer is always right...

        ...until you draw the line.

        And sometimes...you just ought to. Or else.

        But of course, each of us will decide when, what, who, where and how.
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  • Profile picture of the author George Wright
    When I'm the customer, the customer is always Wright, other than that this issue needs to be settled case by case.

    George Wright
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  • Profile picture of the author greff
    For IM people, we usually think about that when someone asks for a refund.

    Speaking for myself, I ALWAYS issue the refund immediately and ask questions later. In fact, I don't even ask questions later. Takes too much time. Time=money. Money=success and happiness. Aha!
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  • Profile picture of the author JordanFrancis
    Mr Krabs from Sponge Bob says:

    "The Money's Always Right!"

    =)
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  • Profile picture of the author Kezz
    Customers can often be wrong, but they should always be treated professionally regardless.

    For example, you may sell a technical product that a customer has not understood or has misused, and they may come to you complaining of a broken product.

    It is then your responsibility to professionally explain to them how to use the product correctly.

    If you just assume they are right, you can never get them to make use of what they have purchased from you.

    You need only be fair, even, honest, unemotional (when dealing with issues) and whether they are right or wrong will often become irrelevant.

    This approach is best not only for the customer, but for you as well.
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    • Profile picture of the author Nightengale
      ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!

      I was just laid off from a customer service job (a call center position to be specific) and I learned very quickly the customer is NOT always right. In fact, I'd venture to say (at least in the company I worked for), they were wrong roughly 60% of the time.

      I could say a lot more, but none of it is favorable to the customer (or to people in general).

      But as Big Mike pointed out, they are always the customer.

      Grrr!

      Michelle
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      • Profile picture of the author cringwall
        I just keep in mind that there will always be a certain percentage of folks who will simply be a pain in the rear. True with customers, co-workers, family members, you name it.

        We are selling stuff to people. They give us their money. Chalk it up to the cost of doing business and move on.
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  • Profile picture of the author pavionjsl
    Yes they are.
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  • Profile picture of the author Online Bliss
    No,
    The customer is not always right.
    I have turned down plenty who would not accept an apology.
    However if you want repeat business then yes they are always right!
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  • Profile picture of the author GavinLively
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    NOPE NOPE NOPE

    The Customer is NOT always right but the Customer IS ALWAYS THE CUSTOMER...

    Gavin
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  • Profile picture of the author digigo
    Originally Posted by King Shiloh View Post

    I have always heard this saying from offline customers in Nigeria. Do you agree with the statement?

    As for me, I don't just get it because some customers are really something else. That is, they can really get to your nerves even when you are trying to be as nice as possible to them.

    Are online customers always right too?
    The customers are always right.. but not all of them are profitable...
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  • Profile picture of the author paulie888
    Unless a customer turns really abusive and becomes completely irrational, it's best to treat him as if he's right. While you could expend a lot of energy and time in "proving" and demonstrating that you are right, in many cases it will not benefit you materially in any way, i.e. you are not going to see increased profits or tangible business benefits of any kind, and furthermore arguing and standing your ground usually causes some (or a lot) of damage to your reputation and name, which means a lot in the online world. While you may get some trivial emotional satisfaction from proving that you were right all along, in many cases it's better to just go along with the customer's wishes and focus on bigger and better things down the road.
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  • Profile picture of the author jedz
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    that really depends on the situation. Most of the time, customers abused this statement..
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  • Profile picture of the author Mohammad Afaq
    To some extent yeah but if my customer will try to get on my nerves, I will just dump him and move on to the next one
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    • Profile picture of the author Syndicator
      The customer is not always right however creating the perception for them that they are always right is a different matter.

      Some customers just are not worth having so you have to decide, tell them that they are wrong and move on. period.

      Dont waste you energy on customers that complain about every small detail. Provide what you promise in a friendly manner and if they dispute this, ask lots of questions to understand what there issue really is.

      Be Specific.

      If they cant be specific then they will either talk themselves out of complaining or explode. If they explode you've busted them as a trouble maker.

      If they are specific then you will be able to address their problem directly and quickly.

      Never be rude, always maintain YOUR professionalism and concentrate on your happy customers!
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      • Profile picture of the author KarlWarren
        Originally Posted by Syndicator View Post

        Never be rude, always maintain YOUR professionalism and concentrate on your happy customers!
        Great advice - this, in itself will help any business grow.

        BTW, love your avatar - Nico DiMattia's speed paintings in Photoshop are awesome aren't they?
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    • Profile picture of the author charlesf
      That is a very old way of thinking. The customer is not always right, however they are a customer and should be treated with respect. Hopefully the respect will be returned.
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      • Profile picture of the author King Shiloh
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        Originally Posted by charlesf View Post

        That is a very old way of thinking. The customer is not always right, however they are a customer and should be treated with respect. Hopefully the respect will be returned.
        Many very old thoughts are still the best thoughts. One of such very old thoughts is that if your customer finds out that you see him as being wrong he will look elsewhere.

        And I'm sure you don't want to lose your customer.
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  • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
    Originally Posted by King Shiloh View Post

    I have always heard this saying from offline customers in Nigeria. Do you agree with the statement?
    If you view it properly.

    You can never tell a customer he is wrong.

    Your customer will, of course, be wrong now and then - but you can't say that. You have to find a way that you can get from where you are to where you're going WITHOUT saying or implying in any way that the customer is wrong.

    Imagine that your customer is about to buy a television antenna from you, and says "Will I be able to get cable with this?"

    So you explain exactly what the customer can and cannot get with an antenna, and that if he wants cable he will need to call the cable company, and ultimately he's happy and buys the antenna.

    Two hours later, he's back and complaining that he can't get the same quality of picture that his neighbours get with cable. What he really wanted to know wasn't whether he could get cable channels, but whether he would get cable quality in his area.

    Not knowing how to say it, his questions were confusing. And he swears that you told him he would get cable quality from an antenna.

    You didn't, of course. But you can't say that. You have to find some way to tell the customer that everything he has just said is 100% correct, and still find a way to fix his problem.

    When I worked at Radio Shack, we solved this by switching off. I'd go get another sales rep, tell him what was going on, and then we'd come back so the sales rep could explain TO ME that what I had told the customer was wrong, and what I should have said. Then I would apologise all over the place and the "senior" rep would send me to the back so he could fix the problem.

    Did the customer think I was an idiot? Nope. The customer was so happy that someone fixed his problem, he would come back in another time and tell me all about the idiot he talked to last time when that idiot was me.

    And I'd say "yeah, he doesn't work here anymore..."
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    • Profile picture of the author BIG Mike
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      • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
        Originally Posted by BIG Mike View Post

        I don't think I'd sleep well if I were forced to play customers like you described to save a sale.
        I despair of successfully explaining this.

        You can't tell a customer he's stupid.

        And if a customer is wrong, it's undoubtedly because he's stupid.

        So you can't tell a customer he's wrong.

        Which means the customer is always right.

        What the customer wanted was the right thing to want.

        What the customer thought was the right thing to think.

        What the customer did was the right thing to do.

        Wherever something was wrong, it has to be someone else's fault.

        Not the customer's. Ever.
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        • Profile picture of the author Syndicator
          Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

          I despair of successfully explaining this.

          You can't tell a customer he's stupid.

          And if a customer is wrong, it's undoubtedly because he's stupid.

          So you can't tell a customer he's wrong.

          Which means the customer is always right.

          What the customer wanted was the right thing to want.

          What the customer thought was the right thing to think.

          What the customer did was the right thing to do.

          Wherever something was wrong, it has to be someone else's fault.

          Not the customer's. Ever.

          This is a Classic response!
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        • Profile picture of the author BIG Mike
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          • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
            Originally Posted by BIG Mike View Post

            Equating being wrong with being stupid is just plain....well, stupid.
            Mike, pay attention here.

            If you tell your customer he is wrong:

            HE MAY BE STUPID. That's a possible reason why he was wrong.

            He may think YOU are stupid, and therefore that YOU think he is stupid because he was wrong.

            He may be afraid that OTHER PEOPLE are watching and listening, and think he is stupid.

            And in all of those cases, your customer gets angry and emotional and you can't come to a reasonable resolution because it's not about the problem anymore - it's the PRINCIPLE of the thing.

            Your own personal philosophy is irrelevant to customer service. You don't exist. You are a puppet, being controlled by the customer's closest friend and biggest fan, who makes you do whatever will make the customer happy.

            If your customer insists there is a software bug in the broom he bought from you, because it's not very good at sweeping, you exchange the broom for something else with a promise to open a bug report and have the developers look at it.

            Folding your arms and saying "brooms don't have software" may be accurate, but it isn't going to do your business any favours.
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            • Profile picture of the author BIG Mike
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              • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
                Originally Posted by BIG Mike View Post

                You're making assumptions that all customers fit that one mold, when nothing could be further from the truth.
                My understanding is that all customers are human beings, and no human beings like to be told that they are wrong.

                Do you take some sort of issue with that statement?
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    • Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

      You can never tell a customer he is wrong.

      Your customer will, of course, be wrong now and then - but you can't say that. You have to find a way that you can get from where you are to where you're going WITHOUT saying or implying in any way that the customer is wrong.

      You have to find some way to tell the customer that everything he has just said is 100% correct, and still find a way to fix his problem.
      Sorry, but no. That's the difference between being an employee and a business owner. An employee has to keep the customer happy, where as a business owner has to be efficient with his time/resources.

      Some customers consume your time resources because, most of the times, they don't even know what they want/need or because they simply want to be hand held to ridiculous levels, asking retarded questions all day long without willing to switch on their brains.

      I try to help a customer the best I can to the point where I feel the time commited on him might be better applied somewhere else. From that point on, I simply say "sorry, but I can't help you. If you want a refund let me know". Why? because that customer is not time efficiently spent.
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  • Profile picture of the author AndrewCavanagh
    Customers are rarely completely right.

    In most cases you're more of an expert than they are when it comes to talking about the product or service that you're providing to them.

    Having said that since customers are the source of your income they deserve:

    # You to treat them with dignity and respect.

    # You to take the time to listen to them and ask them questions so you can find out what it is they really want and need.

    Kindest regards,
    Andrew Cavanagh
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  • Profile picture of the author knighthood
    If I'm not always right, no one is . I worked customer service in a rat hole company for about 3 years. Good experience though. It helped me to learn the art of tongue biting. Very useful when I got married.
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  • Profile picture of the author priyankeshu
    yes,

    the essence behind that statement is that you should customize your solution for the customer's thinking.. and needs

    if it is not like that you would probably not make sales.. and whole buying and selling depends on your customer..

    he is the decision maker.. so he is ALWAYS RIGHT! (even if he might be logically wrong)

    got my point?
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  • Profile picture of the author newton
    Customers aren't always right.

    But as they have paid for a product, they have the right to express their opinion. That is their opinion and what they believe to be true.

    As the product supplier, you have to take their opinion and deal with it because when they are a customer they have statutory rights. Those are the only rights you need to be concerned with.

    Tony
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  • Profile picture of the author King Shiloh
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    "Happy customer, happy bank." Intercontinental Bank PLC, Nigeria.

    If you want to be always happy as a marketer, make sure that your customer is always happy.

    Even if you think that he's stupid, don't make him know or feel that you think so.
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  • Profile picture of the author Peter Bestel
    Don't you think that this phrase, 'The customer is always right' was dreamed up by some senior member of a large organisation who was attempting to distil the company's customer service policy into one, neat sentence?

    After all, it's a fantastic place to start and given the task of educating hundreds of staff it is very effective.

    However, like all blanket statements it has its flaws. As has been mentioned, it is impossible for the customer to ALWAYS be right, no-one is. Maybe in large organisations it is necessary to start with this premise but I personally haven't got the time, inclination or lack of personal self-worth to wholeheartedly embrace it.

    I believe in building relationships. I will go out of my way to build and maintain relationships, but I won't compromise my belief system and personal integrity.

    I want to build any business I'm involved in on my own integrity. I will never knowingly mislead a customer into thinking they are right, when they're plainly not. You never know if the next place they go to will convince them of the truth and bang goes your credibility.

    If a customer is rude - I'll happily not take his money
    If a customer is unnecessarily awkward and wastes a disproportionate amount of my time - I'll happily not take his money
    If a customer is blatantly wrong and to agree with him would compromise my beliefs - I'll happily not take his money

    I will not be rude. I will be civil. I will always attempt to part on good terms, but I refuse to believe that the customer is ALWAYS right.

    I run my own business so I can make choices like this.


    Peter
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    • Originally Posted by Peter Bestel View Post

      - If a customer is rude - I'll happily not take his money.
      - If a customer is unnecessarily awkward and wastes a disproportionate amount of my time, I'll happily not take his money.
      - If a customer is blatantly wrong and to agree with him would compromise my beliefs - I'll happily not take his money.

      I will not be rude. I will be civil. I will always attempt to part on good terms, but I refuse to believe that the customer is ALWAYS right.

      I run my own business so I can make choices like this.


      Peter
      I TOTALLY agree!
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  • Here's something I've learned over the last few years after dealing with hundreds upon hundreds of customers from my IM business: The customer is NOT always right, plus there are some customers that are NOT worth having: they consume too much customer support resources (usually people who like to bitch and/or be hand held without having to switch their own brains on) to make their customership worth while the time+hassle.

    So don't be afraid to push a problematic customer out of the door. Those people are not the core of your business yet they can bring home plenty of headaches!
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  • Profile picture of the author KarlWarren
    Consider this...

    If you're working for a company, and you spend ALL DAY trying to keep a customer happy - try telling your BOSS that the customer is always right, when that customer has only spent $10 on something, and isn't likely to become a repeat customer.

    I don't think they'd be too happy.

    "The customer is always right" is just a slogan. Common sense should be the overriding factor.

    Do not spend your precious time and money on unprofitable ventures.
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  • Profile picture of the author ryanman
    Is the customer always right?

    Well if you want to be rich...Then yes.

    If you want to be average...Then No.

    So, All you really have to do is to give the customer the illusion that they are right even when they might be wrong. When they have your approval...You can have their money.

    I have seen many businesses go out of business only because they thought customer isn't always right.

    RULE OF BUSINESS -

    1- The customer is always right.
    2- Read point one again if you have doubts.
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    • Profile picture of the author BIG Mike
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      • Profile picture of the author ryanman
        Originally Posted by BIG Mike View Post

        Hmmm...see the problem with that is you're making up absolutes that are not true. I don't think the customer is always right and I'm <cough>rich</cough> so your rules don't seem to hold water.
        Well! Depends on your definition of rich...You could be making $20,000 per day and say that's rich...But what if you could be making $1,00,000 if only you agreed with your customers more.

        In business I personally don't try to make a point...I keep my ego aside...My main goal is to make money. I am not there to prove how someone's views might be wrong only because they don't match mine or social norms.

        If I am selling coffee...And one customer tells me...It's too sweet. I would happily make adjustments for that customer. At the same time if another customer says...My coffee needs more sugar...I would add more sugar for that particular customer.

        You never know how much money you might be missing out on...Again! We can argue this forever...But each one to his own opinion.
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    • Profile picture of the author Peter Bestel
      Originally Posted by ryanman View Post

      RULE OF BUSINESS -

      1- The customer is always right.
      2- Read point one again if you have doubts.
      You see, that's a rule of large organisations with multiple levels of staffing.

      It's an over-simplified management mantra for the masses who are spoonfed such propaganda so they don't have to think for themselves.

      'Rich' by the way, is a totally subjective term so doesn't really cut it in this discussion.

      If I HAD to believe that the customer was always right, then I wouldn't have a business at all - I'd probably walk away and go do something else. Yes, it's that important to me.

      Peter
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      • Profile picture of the author ryanman
        Originally Posted by Peter Bestel View Post

        You see, that's a rule of large organisations with multiple levels of staffing.
        And that is the exact reason why they are "LARGE ORGANIZATIONS" and not small businesses. They got to that point because they followed these rules.

        I remember talking to someone long time ago...This person was pretty successful in what he did and we got into an argument over how right the customer is. I was actually telling him that the customer isn't always right. I really made some great points but he said just one line at the end...Which really made me think. He said-

        You can keep the credit for being right...And I can keep the money.

        So what he really intended to say was...If you truly want to make money...Then stop trying to prove your customer wrong.
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        • Profile picture of the author KarlWarren
          Originally Posted by ryanman View Post

          And that is the exact reason why they are "LARGE ORGANIZATIONS" and not small businesses. They got to that point because they followed this.
          Are you serious???

          The reason they are LARGE ORGANISATIONS is that they have identified a market, filled the gap and expanded.

          Lots of large organisations treat smaller customers like ****, believe me. Read the story of Coca-Cola, for an example - about how they treated their distributors (read "customers").

          For most large organisations the customer is at the bottom of the food chain, a number on a spreadsheet - in some cases, this applies to staff too - shareholders are at the top.

          That's not to say I think it should be that way, I'm just saying that your blanket statements are ridiculous.

          I'm a huge advocate of providing great service and follow the advice of Julian Richer (a customer service demi-god), but I'm not naive enough to think that the customer is ALWAYS right.
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          • Profile picture of the author ryanman
            Originally Posted by KarlWarren View Post


            That's not to say I think it should be that way, I'm just saying that your blanket statements are ridiculous.
            lol...I am just saying "I would rather be rich...Than be right".

            I have seen a lot of people who do not agree with it or even understand it for that matter...And I am not here to change their mind either. Again...Everyone is entitled to their own opinions.
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            • Profile picture of the author KarlWarren
              Originally Posted by ryanman View Post

              lol...I am just saying "I would rather be rich...Than be right".
              My point is... are you EITHER of those two things?
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              • Profile picture of the author ryanman
                Originally Posted by KarlWarren View Post

                My point is... are you EITHER of those two things?
                Well I guess you won't come to know .
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            • Profile picture of the author Peter Bestel
              Originally Posted by ryanman View Post

              lol...I am just saying "I would rather be rich...Than be right".
              But why not both?

              I'd hazard a guess there aren't many members of this forum that have such large businesses that they don't interact directly with their customers on a regular basis.

              We are the owners, the decision makers, the policy makers.

              We can allow ourselves the luxury of not believing the customer is always right.

              If my company happens to become huge muli-national, you know what I'll tell my staff?

              The customer is always right.

              Why the seemingly hypocrisy? Because it's safer, easier to instruct staff that this is company policy so they don't have to worry about it.

              Will I expect ALL my staff to sign up to the mantra? No, of course not, because I'd hope they have the brains to think for themselves for a bit.

              But, if they are trained to know that the company believes that the customer is always right, then there's a very good chance that they'll go the extra mile for every single PITA customer.

              And think on this for a moment. What if my multi-national company had a policy of, 'The Customer is NOT always right', could you imagine the anarchy that that kind of message would send to the staff.

              It's all propaganda and mind games - sad but true.

              Peter
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              • Profile picture of the author ryanman
                Originally Posted by Peter Bestel View Post

                We can allow ourselves the luxury of not believing the customer is always right.
                I personally aim at making money and not changing how people operate unless my business is self-improvement.

                The fact about the world is - PEOPLE ARE DIFFERENT.

                Different tastes, lifestyles, ways of doing things etc etc. What you consider to be right...Might be completely wrong in someone else's world.

                What they consider to be right might be completely wrong in your world.

                One person can buy your product and say it's heavily overpriced...

                Another can buy it and say...It heavily under priced and got a great deal.

                I personally won't argue with a customer if he believes my product is overpriced...I would rather ask him why he thinks so and what can I do to improve it even if in my view...I have a perfect product.

                You can still disagree with me here...And I accept that too. Each one to his own opinion again.
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                • Profile picture of the author KarlWarren
                  Originally Posted by ryanman View Post

                  I personally won't argue with a customer if he believes my product is overpriced...I would rather ask him why he thinks so and what can I do to improve it even if in my view...I have a perfect product.
                  Now THAT is good customer service, that should be taught that instead of "TCIAR". TCIAR is far too generic and leads to all the subjective thinking apparent in this thread...

                  What they should say is this:

                  The customer has the right to express their opinion.

                  You should, in fact, ask EVERY customer specific questions about how the transaction went 'for them' so that you can fix issues and duplicate successes.

                  Kindest regards,
                  Karl.
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                • Profile picture of the author Rod Cortez
                  If you have ever had extensive customer service training (like a KASET course as one example) you'll quickly learn that the customer is not always right. However, you seldom tell them they are wrong. It all depends on what kind of business you have. In some instances you might simply need to educate the customer or explain why you have a particular policy, procedure, price point, etc.

                  No one here is advocating you actually TELL the customer they are wrong (which doesn't mean that they are right by default) it simply means you're taking a consultative / customer orientated approach to that specific interaction. In the cases when a customer becomes unreasonable or too difficult to deal with, every single company on the planet has a different way of dealing with it because no two companies are exactly alike.

                  So clearly, the customer isn't always right and how you handle it is based on your corporate culture, policies, mission statement, etc.

                  RoD
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              • Profile picture of the author Peter Bestel
                Originally Posted by Peter Bestel View Post

                If my company happens to become huge muli-national, you know what I'll tell my staff?

                The customer is always right.
                Actually, I've just been thinking about this and I've changed my mind.

                I don't think I would tell my staff that TCIAR - that's just too much of a burden and would probably lead to bad feeling, allowing my staff to believe that I'd always put the customer before them no matter what.

                TCIAR is a message for the customers and I wouldn't want to set up that expectation. I'd respect my staff too much. I'd make sure that I had real good customer service training in place instead.

                There, I feel better now.

                Peter
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                • Profile picture of the author KarlWarren
                  Originally Posted by Peter Bestel View Post

                  TCIAR
                  Peter... I've claimed ownership of that acronym
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                  • Profile picture of the author Peter Bestel
                    Originally Posted by KarlWarren View Post

                    Peter... I've claimed ownership of that acronym
                    And I'll raise you TCINAR
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                    • Profile picture of the author KarlWarren
                      Originally Posted by Peter Bestel View Post

                      And I'll raise you TCINAR
                      Sounds like a Russian Vodka, I'll also raise one
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                      • Profile picture of the author Peter Bestel
                        Originally Posted by KarlWarren View Post

                        Sounds like a Russian Vodka, I'll also raise one
                        Let's raise a few and sod the customer
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                        • Profile picture of the author bassian
                          Guys,

                          I found the trick is to always make the customer think they are right!

                          Regards,

                          Ian
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                          • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
                            Originally Posted by bassian View Post

                            Guys,

                            I found the trick is to always make the customer think they are right!

                            Regards,

                            Ian
                            I'd take that a different direction...

                            The trick is to make the customer think that they've been heard and respected, because they have been.

                            Once most people get a chance to vent a little, they're open to a reasonable dialog. Maybe they've been embarrassed or frustrated, or maybe they believe in the power of a well-placed and executed tantrum to get through the "sorry, it's policy" mantra. Either way, once reasonable people believe you are really listening to them, they act like their reasonable selves.

                            The ideal solution lets the customer save face and the business owner save the sale (or future sales) and profits.

                            Of course, some people out there strongly resemble the south end of a northbound equine, and deserve to be treated as such...
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        • Profile picture of the author Robert Puddy
          Originally Posted by ryanman View Post


          You can keep the credit for being right...And I can keep the money.
          He bull****ted you just so he could be right
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          • Profile picture of the author ryanman
            Originally Posted by Robert Puddy View Post

            He bull****ted you just so he could be right
            Haha...You are right here! But I was actually glad I was wrong that day. That lesson made me quite a lot of money over the past few years .
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          • Profile picture of the author Lance K
            To me, the "The customer is always right" saying is not a black and white, right or wrong thing. But more of a "perception is reality" thing.

            The customer's perception is their reality. So in their mind they're right.



            So you have a few choices...
            • Do right by the customer according to their perception
            • Work with the customer to change their perception
            • Fire the customer (as tactfully and professionally as possible)
            In the end, it boils down to your level of desire to continue doing business with that customer.

            You have the right to choose. Effectively rendering all "wrong" (literally or ideologically) customers irrelevant. Because they won't be customers anymore.
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        • Originally Posted by ryanman View Post

          And that is the exact reason why they are "LARGE ORGANIZATIONS" and not small businesses. They got to that point because they followed these rules.

          So what he really intended to say was...If you truly want to make money...Then stop trying to prove your customer wrong.
          No chance! Large organizations do NOT get there by treating individual customers like a princess - they get there by mainstreaming their treatment to fit the mass audience. That is called "efficiency", and they will indeed tell you that they cannot satisfy your needs if you ask for something that's out of their mainstreamed product range.

          I repeat: you need to be efficient with your customer support time. If someone is too demanding to make his/her customership worth the while, you're better off saying "sorry, I cannot provide that kind of service" rather than wasting your entire morning going out of your way in an attempt to satisfy that individual customer. Your time is just better spent satisfying your mass audience, not the individual.
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          • Profile picture of the author Nick Lotter
            I guess it depends largely on the situation / circumstances.

            There is an old saying that where there is smoke, there is fire. If you have a complaining customer, its an indication that there is probably room for improvement somewhere in your system, so try to take all criticism constructively - no matter how unreasonable or unconstructive the customer seems to be.

            On the other hand, I do feel that you need to have enough pride in the integrity of your business to be able to say when you don't agree, and to stand by your terms / service.

            Having said that, I think you still gotta just "smile and wave" and try to drive any dispute with a customer to some sort of mutually agreed conclusion as quickly as possible, because in any situation, the one who stands to lose the most out of any seller-buyer confrontation is always the seller.
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  • Profile picture of the author Niche-Dominator
    haha this thread made me laugh and I am sure we all have experienced the frustrations of customer service. However at the end of the day they are still the customer and it's your job to satisfy them even if they are wrong.

    I learnt this from years spent working in a customer relations job, so glad im free of that now.

    Anyway this is my first post in the WF, may I say its a pleasure to be here

    Regards,
    Pete.
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  • Profile picture of the author actionplanbiz
    @OP

    they only say that to their "Employees." business owners do not think the same way they will be more assertive.
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  • Profile picture of the author David Brown
    Right or wrong we have to remain reasonable and polite even if we lose that customer.

    Word of mouth advertising travels much quicker, especially with the overall reach of the Internet, when people complain about you!!!

    Right or wrong we have to treat them as if they are right....but we can certainly think what we want about them


    Dave
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  • Profile picture of the author Peter Bestel
    Maybe I'm just a weirdo, but I like to treat my customers with respect, even if that means informing them that they're wrong.

    I don't shout at them and belittle them. I don't drag them into the middle of the street, put them in the stocks whilst inviting passers-by to hurl rotten fruit at them - declaring them village idiots.

    I don't patronise them by patting them on the head saying, "Of course you're right sir, the world IS flat and Mr Darwin didn't know what he was talking about."

    No, if there's an opportunity I will educate. Not in a pompous, 'I know more than you' way, but a friendly, respectful way.

    I have discovered that demonstrating respect builds a fantastic relationship based on... mutual respect.

    A customer who respects you will spread the word on how much of a great guy you are. Better that than them discovering they've been lied to.

    All this type of communication takes is a bit of practice and the ability to build rapport. However, if you feel that you lack those skills then maybe the best policy for your business is to adopt the mantra, TCIARâ„¢ *.

    Peter

    EDIT: Notwithstanding, of course, my previous comments I made in this thread:

    Originally Posted by Peter Bestel View Post

    If a customer is rude - I'll happily not take his money
    If a customer is unnecessarily awkward and wastes a disproportionate amount of my time - I'll happily not take his money
    If a customer is blatantly wrong and to agree with him would compromise my beliefs - I'll happily not take his money
    * TCIARâ„¢ is (apparently) wholly owned by Karl Warren
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  • Profile picture of the author harry12
    Not always but still you have to consider that customer is always right.
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  • Profile picture of the author JustVisiting
    Customers are ONLY RIGHT when there are enough of them with the same views to make a profitable and viable market.
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  • Profile picture of the author digitalstar
    A Customer may not always be Right. For that matter no one on earth can always be right.

    But If you think your customer is always Right, You can deal with them much better and improve your business.
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  • Profile picture of the author KarlWarren
    I think it's time for a little clarification here...

    "The customer is always right"

    Let's analyse that phrase:

    The customer (someone who has paid you for a product/service) is entitled to have an opinion, that is their right... we all agree on this.

    The customer may voice that opinion to you, their friends, your competitors, their family and complete strangers, that is their right... we all agree on this too.

    The customer has various statutory rights when it comes to their purchase, i.e. specific rights regarding refunds, data protection, safety and liabilities etc... I HOPE we all agree on this.

    Providing the customer receives the service/product they have paid for, and it is fit for that purpose - this is as far as the customer's RIGHTS extend. Anything offered in addition is at the discretion of the individual/business, i.e. ongoing support etc. Of course, if those are offered as part of the agreement, the customer has the right to receive them... if you do NOT agree with this, that is your right - but those are the facts!!!

    I'd like to clear up some misconceptions I've seen in this thread...

    A "lead" is not a "customer", they are a "potential customer".

    Saying that the customer is not always right, is not the same as saying the customer is always wrong.

    Saying that the customer is not always right, does not mean the the customer is treated like dirt. It is up to the individual/business to decide how they treat their customers in line with their own ethics and policies.

    This thread has been an interesting read, especially as there are a lot of "cliche parrots" - a trend which is not only amusing, but sometimes damaging.

    I'm sure I'll have lots more to say on the matter after a few more replies.
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  • Profile picture of the author KarlWarren
    Here's an interesting question for you...

    Is the customer always a RIGHT fit for your business?
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    • Profile picture of the author Nick Lotter
      Originally Posted by KarlWarren View Post

      Here's an interesting question for you...

      Is the customer always a RIGHT fit for your business?
      Truthfully, in my experience offline, No.

      I had a customer once who bought a product from me, and returned it "2 months" later and tried to get a refund. (it was a consumable product)

      He put on a huge display of dissatisfaction in my reception area, making sure every other customer in our showroom knew how dissatisfied he was with our product.

      Unfortunately for him, I knew the product well and was able to prove to him that the wear on the product showed that it was well over a year old. (the product was designed to last for about 6 - 8 months before needing to be replaced)

      As it turned out, he was forced to admit that he had tried to pass off his old product for one that he had bought recently to try and get a new one for free.

      His excuse? "oh well, I thought it was worth a try"

      That guy could have cost me future business from the other clients in the showroom. I am sure others may have had similar experiences.

      Here's the thing though: I had to keep my cool and, like I said earlier, smile and wave, be polite. If I had lost my cool with the guy, I would have ended up doing more damage to the business than that guy ever could.
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  • Profile picture of the author Barry Unruh
    I worked in face to face computer support for 19 years. The sales people always told me "The customer is always right" and I always replied, "No, many times they are simply uneducated, let me talk to them."

    I built up a core of clients who loved me, and never wanted to see the sales people for one reason, I was the person they trusted to tell them the truth, and to show them a better direction. Sometimes it created tension between me and a client. There were times I flatly refused to do what they wanted, and they quit working with us. Almost every one of them was back within one or two years.

    Most of them were very humble as they told me about all the troubles they had pursuing their choice.

    Were these customers wrong? Absolutely. Just as I have been many times in making decisions to buy certain things, or to pursue a particular course. I'd rather have someone tell me where I am erring, and if I choose to go down a wrong track, then it was my decision, my responsibility. I will not hold the other person responsible, because they told me their beliefs.

    So, Isn't it actually your responsibility to tell a client when they are wrong, so they can make an informed decision.

    Even if they are wrong in requesting a refund, you can tell them why they are wrong, and then you have a choice, do you still refund, or refuse to refund. Do you choose to ban them from buying, or do you invite them to try a different product which might suit their needs even more? You might even recommend a different teacher, or course which you have no affiliation with, if it fills their needs. You have built a relationship, which might not show fruits today, but may come back to pay you big in the future.

    The online world is not any different than the offline world, it is all just people, and relationships.
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  • Profile picture of the author Dachcode
    Well, that's the impression u have to create even if they're not right. Your customer is your business.>>>
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    • Originally Posted by Dachcode View Post

      Well, that's the impression u have to create even if they're not right. Your customer is your business.>>>
      Wrong! A profitable customer is your business. Not every customer falls into that category.

      There are customers that are simply not profitable and not worth having because the hassle they create outgrows the profits they generate for you. Those are the customers you want to wave good bye instead of spending further valuable customer support resources on them.

      Think about this: Why do you think outsourced call centers are used by many large corporations?

      We all know that outsourced call centers offer, more often than not, a limited customer satisfaction experience. But large corporations know that they are better off being EFFICIENT with their customer support service to the critical mass of their audience, than being EXCELLENT with the customer support to some overly-demanding individual customers.

      The money is NOT in pleasing every customer - the money is in efficiently pleasing 95% of the mainstream customer base, and simply waving good bye to the problematic 5%.

      When it comes to customer support, efficiency > excellence.
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  • Profile picture of the author macchiavelli
    Hell no the customer is not always right.
    People often abuse that right, especially online!
    Chargebacks for the most ridiculous reasons ever...its kind of like a way to cheat the system.
    Get a product online, do a chargeback....free product!
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    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      As I read through the latest round of replies, I had one of those "smack my forehead and call me dopey" flashes.

      We've all been spending all this time talking about the wrong thing...

      We've all been coming at the question from a customer service angle, and I don't think it was ever intended to apply that way. It's been *******ized over the years by disgruntled customers and lazy business owners.

      Here's the real meaning, as I now see it, and it applies to marketing itself, not customer service after the sale.

      Consider all the threads just on this forum by people who have put together products or made offers that flopped completely. For the sake of discussion, we'll concede that it's a great product. The website functions well, is attractive and well-written. The offer is more than fair.

      BUT NOBODY WANTS IT...

      In this case, it's absolutely true - the customer is always right when they are making their decision on whether or not to become a customer in the first place. Especially if you use the "The Customer" the same way politicos use "The People" - if you've put your best offer in front of a number of people who should be interested, and nobody buys, there is a reason.

      At this point, you can either beat your chest about how dumb prospects are for not jumping on your terrific offer, or you can change something.

      That way, when The Customer chooses your offer over your competitors', you can say proudly "yup, the customer is always right..."
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  • Profile picture of the author Diana Lane
    Somewhere in the back of my wardrobe lurks a red and white striped ra-ra skirt, a pair of lime green satin jeans and a pair of black platform dolly shoes, all bought while I was of sound mind and conclusive proof that The Customer has been known to be wrong. Very wrong.

    It's my view that in a fair exchange of value (product in return for cash), neither party has a right to dictate terms and demand more than what the offer has already established. Where this usually all comes unstuck and who is 'right' becomes an issue is where boundaries were not set at the beginning. If dealing with irate customers forms a regular part of your daily routine then you should be looking at what you're offering to see where it's promising more than you are willing to deliver, or where it neglects to mention what you won't. Likewise, buyers who spend a lot of time complaining. Unless an offer specifically mentions the benefit or feature that they're seeking, the chances are that it isn't there. Failure to define their needs by asking before purchasing usually leads to parting with the cash on the off-chance and then kicking up a fuss later, just as failure on the part of the buyer to set their own financial boundaries can often lead to buyer remorse and a refund request or chargeback somewhere down the line.

    Assuming you have made your boundaries clear and are supplying what you say you will, then it seems like madness to me to award someone the right to call all the shots just because they have money they're willing to spend with you. It amounts to awarding money priority over everything else (and being a doormat to customer service isn't usually cost effective anyway). However much we enjoy this, none of us are doing it just for the sake of it and time spent placating disatisfied customers is time better spent with family, friends or shopping for the next fashion disaster
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  • Profile picture of the author loopline
    NO NO NO!!! The customer is probably wrong more then they are right. They are jerks, rude, arrogant, and should be be charged a fee just for putting up with them. But its like someone else said, they are always the customer.

    So its a balance of trying to give them quality and put up with them.

    Bill Cosby says "I don't know what the key to success is, but the key to failure is trying to please everyone".

    I work Retail in the US as a day job and some people really should be charged money just for putting up with them.
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  • Profile picture of the author Clark
    I agree with that statement whenever I am the customer.

    Damn right!

    The fact is that nobody is "always right", well.... except for my wife who continually tells me so.
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  • Profile picture of the author bernardbako
    king, no man is always right. there is also a saying that 'a fool is always right'.
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  • Profile picture of the author Amanda Russell
    The customer is always right? No they are not!
    I feel that 'The Customer Always Comes First' Is a better slogan.
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  • Profile picture of the author senderbot
    The customer is quite often confused, deluded, annoyed, argumentative, thinking your company is another company, uninformed, lazy, greedy, conniving, devious..... I could go on. In those circumstances the customer is wrong and a good salesperson will help them become right.

    However how much work it takes depends on how much you really need the customer. The dream of every business owner is to be in a position to turn away all the wrong customers and just be able to work with all the fun, happy right ones.

    In the 4 hour workweek we learn from Tim Ferris that 80% of the customers are wrong and that the remaining 20% are not only right, but are giving you most of your profit. At which point its safe to fire the 80%!

    I personally am happy to always have a good refund policy in any business I run. If a customer becomes wrong for me or the product is wrong for the customer he gets a refund and I move on...

    As an extra whilst setting up a business I needed extra cash so I helped run a marina where we rented paddle boats. Paddle boats have a weight limit or they sink. Occasionally we would get into arguments with customers when a family of 4 big big people wanted to all go in one boat. Safety rules dictate that the customer is wrong to want to go out in a boat.

    However watching argumentative people sink right in front of a crowded dock and restaurant was so much fun that we would sometimes allow the customer to "always be right".

    Cheers

    Max
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  • Profile picture of the author uniquecontent
    The customer only wants to fulfill his requirements but might be dont know about the easier and cost effective method. So being his provider we should make him correct time to time. I am not agree with that customer is always right but we have to make him right wherever he is wrong.
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