Why the customer is never right.
Since 1909, ‘the customer is always right’ rule has been out there causing distress of employees and abnormal customer cult. In fact, this deception went as far as satisfying every client’s whim no matter how justified. We all had that one friend who would buy T-shirts, wear and stain them and then go back to the store and replace them with new ones. Is this kind of policy right? Hardly. The only thing gained by this idiocy is a couple of cheating and smart-ass clients. As a matter of fact, customer is almost never right.
Fortunately, more and more employers take up the policy of protecting their workers instead of customers. Politeness and diligence are not canceled, but running circus performances for the sake of a single ill-tempered customer is.
Employees of the company stay while customers come and go, even the most important of them, and it should be clearly understood by management.
Airlines are often the first to get the blow from customers’ dissatisfaction. It is simply impossible to satisfy every client. Some of them want food to be served, the others need a different flight schedule, and the rest think they are treated without proper respect. In the end, they keep flying with the same company, but become regular in their headquarters and know the complaints address by heart. Is there logic in this behavior? Hardly. And only in a few cases complaints can be justified (lost baggage, delayed flights, etc.) In his novel called ‘Airport’ Arthur Hailey described how a passenger would bug airport workers for the sake of entertaining himself, while they are already in distress due to the attack aboard.
The real struggle here is the balance. How to provide good service and still protect your employees? There is no single answer to this question, as every company has its own peculiarities, and every work sphere needs a different approach.
If we forget about ill-tempered clients and try looking from another perspective, we will see that a customer can hardly be right in other cases as well. The truth is, a customer is not a specialist in the field (with rare exceptions) and does not know what he wants and when. This is the employee’s job to understand and satisfy his real needs. In this case,an employee should have much more freedom to deal with a customer and be able to give what is really needed, not what the argument is all about. Those customers that know what they want will not give any employee a hard time. They just take it and leave.
Surprisingly, worshipping customers leads to worse customer service, increases employee turnover and simply turns regular establishments (like MacDonald’s) into a place where people go to snap at their workers. Utmost politeness and professionalism now rule the world, while thecustomer cult is enjoying its last days alive.