It's Business

Why The Customer Isn’t Always Right

March 1, 2017

We’ve all heard the popular phrase, “The customer is always right.” Wrong. Most of us have had to deal with customers who were definitely wrong in every way possible. This term was coined in 1909 by Gordon Selfridge for his London department store employees. He simply wanted to encourage them to have better customer service while, at the same time, giving his customers confidence in purchasing from his store. However, in our current society, things aren’t quite what they used to be back in 1909.


The Customer Isn’t Always Right Because They Don’t Know Your Job

Most of us have more knowledge about our position and our job than a customer does. We’ve all been there when a customer tries to tell us how to do our job. Of course, more times than not, what they’re demanding makes no sense. Of course, any of us in a customer service position, if we’re doing our job correctly, will do the best that we possibly can to help a customer. However, it just turns out that some customers can’t be pleased and that’s just part of dealing with people in general.

The Customer Isn’t Always Right Because Your Employees Deserve Respect

If you force an employee to actually adopt this method, you will constantly be losing them. There are always difficult, incorrect, and frustrating customers. If you force your employees to bow down to every customer and their demands, your employees won’t want to stick around. Your employees are your life line. Treat them with respect and that they’re worth something, or you will be running a business by yourself.

The Customer Isn’t Always Right Because People Are Greedy

Sadly, in this day and age, people will find every way possible to get free merchandise or to be the victim. If you think the customer is always right and give in to every demand or request they have, you will go out of business. Okay, that might be extreme but it’s possible. If people know they can complain about whatever they want and immediately get, for example, their meal for free, you will have people start doing this often. If it starts becoming a trend, you will begin losing a lot of money. Plus, if you have that many complaints, it will give you a bad reputation which is detrimental to a business.

The Customer Isn’t Always Right Because Some Customers Are Bad for Business

Sometimes, you have customers that need to be banned from your establishment because they cause a scene or drive away other customers. If you’re an online business, they may be those commenters that are always rude and argumentative on every post. Those types of customers are not customers, they’re a disease that can quickly spread through your business and push away the type of customers you actually need/want. Therefore, if you were to give into a customer like this, you might as well just close your doors. If not, they will do it for you through their terrible behavior.

Overall, customer service is always very important. However, your employees should always be taken care of and respected. Not only will this encourage them to work better, it will show customers that you back your employees. Further, it’s okay to tell customers no. They’re not always right and that’s not a bad thing. If you give people and inch, they’ll take the entire road. Be proud of your business and if you’ve done nothing wrong then don’t let them walk all over you. You’ve done your job now they need to accept that they are just overreacting.

  • Reply
    March 2, 2017 at 4:14 pm

    I think a good quality of a great manager/business owner is to look at all sides of a situation. People are crazy and you have to be able to see it for what it is!

  • Reply
    Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle
    March 3, 2017 at 4:39 am

    This is a great post. I don’t have a business that requires me to work with the general public, but as a person who has seen public meltdowns, I’m glad you touched on the fact that customers aren’t always right.

  • Reply
    Colleen Lanin
    March 3, 2017 at 1:18 pm

    I love this post! Of course, customer service is king, but some people cannot be satisfied.

  • Reply
    Pam Wattenbarger
    March 3, 2017 at 5:47 pm

    I remember working in retail. I definitely remember some customers who were not right, lol.

  • Reply
    Liz Mays
    March 3, 2017 at 11:21 pm

    You make some good points! There is definitely a middle ground and customers and employees benefit when they’re both treated with respect and understanding.

  • Reply
    March 3, 2017 at 11:22 pm

    Working in retail was one of my least favorite jobs for this reason. I worked at a depatment store and the things customers got away was crazy.

  • Reply
    Marcie W.
    March 3, 2017 at 11:35 pm

    These are all fantastic points! Since my husband manages a company with over 25 stores and more than 40 employees, I can share numerous examples as to how the customer is not always right.

  • Reply
    March 4, 2017 at 12:53 am

    These are such great points. When you work in retail you realize that something the customer is just plain wrong.

  • Reply
    Tonia Sanders
    March 4, 2017 at 1:04 am

    I agree. There is a difference between good customer service and “the customer is always right”. Customer service is always the key to a good business but allowing customers to dictate should never be a part of any business plan. Great post!

  • Reply
    March 4, 2017 at 3:06 am

    This is why I hated working with the general public. Customers always felt they were right, even when they were wrong. Sometimes that led them to be downright rude and disrespectful. There definitely needs to be middle ground when a problem arises, but both sides do need to be respectful of the other party no matter what the situation.

  • Reply
    Shannon Gurnee
    March 4, 2017 at 3:35 am

    These are a lot of really great points! It is definitely true that the customer isn’t always right, but the employee should definitely still treat the customer with the utmost respect.

  • Reply
    Toni | Boulder Locavore
    March 4, 2017 at 3:18 pm

    These are all so true! Really, not all customers are always right! This is such a great read!

  • Reply
    Seattle Travel Blogger
    March 4, 2017 at 4:10 pm

    I really think this is a refreshing way to look at business.
    You make some very good points here!

  • Reply
    Ann Bacciaglia
    March 4, 2017 at 8:09 pm

    I have always thought that saying was wrong. This is a refreshing post about business.

  • Reply
    Sheena Tatum
    March 4, 2017 at 11:34 pm

    Yes! I have always said this. I love spoiling customers but I don’t like customers who are impossible to please.

  • Reply
    March 5, 2017 at 1:17 am

    I love this post. I agree that the customer is very important, but definitely not always right.

  • Reply
    Amanda Love
    March 6, 2017 at 5:27 pm

    Honestly, speaking from experience, when you handle your own business you should learn how to take good care of your employees. You’ll have more customers when you know how to take care of the people working for you.

  • Reply
    March 7, 2017 at 3:57 pm

    I couldn’t agree more and this is so very true. Thank you of shedding light on this one.

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