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5 Reasons why 'Customer is always right is wrong

"The customer is always right," as you've probably heard. As a consumer, you may have felt that this catchphrase applied to you. But I believe that this statement, popularized in the early 1900s by Harry Gordon Selfridge, is incorrect – and incorrect for a variety of reasons.

The goal of this term is to establish a perception of excellent customer service. It can also be used as a slogan in training to encourage employees to make decisions that benefit consumers in order to foster loyalty and trust. However, I've discovered that this customer-centric philosophy is now obsolete and irrelevant. In fact, it's possible that it's obstructing the route to truly excellent customer service.

I understand why this sentence appears strange. There are, nevertheless, compelling reasons to abandon this century-old corporate maxim. Here are five reasons why the old adage "the customer is always right" is incorrect.

  1. There are wrong customers. Simply stating that the customer is always right does not imply that this is the case. Customers make mistakes from time to time, and personnel must be prepared to handle them appropriately. Taking responsibility for a mistake for which the company is not responsible is a slippery slope. Let's imagine a consumer demands a full refund on a $500 sofa chair because it's too uncomfortable to use. Isn't comfortability a subjective concept? Is this particular client correct? Many furniture vendors may not require the consumer to return the item, therefore the customer may simply be looking for a refund and to keep the couch chair for free. If the consumer is always right, the couch chair business will quickly lose pricey inventory without making a profit in the aforementioned situation. To combat this, employees must change their customer service slogan from "the customer is always right" to "the customer is occasionally wrong".

  2. You are not supporting employees. The mindset of "the customer is always right" might be detrimental to your customer service team's morale. How? Customers that call your customer service personnel will constantly be obnoxious and nasty. These consumers are difficult to deal with, and despite your team's best efforts, a successful outcome is not always achievable. If you side with these types of customers, you run the risk of alienating your workforce. Retaining high-quality personnel with whom you have faith and trust should be your top goal. If the customer is always right, staff must put up with consumer abuse with no help from management.

  3. ‘The customer is right’ is wrong for customer service. Having a "customer is always right" mantra in place, in my experience, really makes customer service worse. Yes, this may seem strange, but consider this: If your customer service crew is continually chastised by consumers and has nowhere to turn for help from upper management, your team will eventually turn on the firm. It's akin to a ship's mutiny. Employee happiness, productivity, and efficiency are heavily influenced by the working environment and corporate culture. Employees disengage when negativity disrupts the workplace's balance. Negativity then spreads to clients who are among the people you want to please. This isn't good.

  4. Not all customers are worth keeping. When it comes to running a business, unruly and disrespectful customers are inescapable, but that doesn't mean you have to keep doing business with them. Clients who are frequently unreasonable, do not pay on time, micromanage, are abusive, and take up much too much valuable time are examples of customers who are not worth having. When it comes to dealing with clients, time is a very valuable resource that is frequently underestimated. If you have an unreasonable, micromanaging customer depleting company resources, for example, you may lose traction with the clients you really like.

  5. It’s impossible to satisfy everyone. Using "the customer is always right" in your daily business activities assumes that you can please every consumer 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This is a waste of time. Even the most well-known and successful brands understand that this is impossible, and so should you. People are all different. We all have distinct likes in fashion, food, vehicles, and homes, for example, and attempting to meet all customer's wants would quickly fail your firm. Pleasing everyone implies that everyone is a potential consumer. This is a horrible business concept on its own. "If everyone is your client, you don't have any," as the phrase goes. Why? You have no target audience to sell to if you want your product or service in the hands of every individual on the earth. It causes havoc.


It’s ok - let customers be wrong. Many centuries-old commercial expressions are still in use today. They are ingrained in business owners' thoughts in certain ways, making them a part of daily operations. They should, however, be thoroughly scrutinized. To ensure that your company's growth and performance are maximized, identify what makes sense and reject the rest. Allow customers to make mistakes.

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