The Customer is Sometimes Wrong

The phrase “The customer is always right” was originally coined by Harry Gordon Selfridge, the founder of Selfridge’s department store in London in 1909, and is typically used by businesses to:

  1. Convince customers that they will get good service at this company
  2. Convince employees to give customers good service

Using the slogan “The customer is always right” abusive customers can demand just about anything (because they’re right “by definition”). Sometimes it means that abusive people get better treatment and conditions than nice people and this is not a good business. It makes much more sense to be nice to the nice customers to keep them coming back.

Most businesses think that “the more customers the better”; but some customers are quite simply bad for business. We have to focus on our good customers.

Even good customers are sometimes wrong: maybe they are demanding us new services that we really believe are not right for them or we think we are not the right company for provide them this new service.

If we have a clear strategy, if we know what we do and what we don’t do, if we kown the strategic power of saying no, we can quickly identify these situations.

As professionals, we’re not doing our jobs if we let them continue their mistake without pointing it out. We’re not always thanked for this; it can lead to friction and even, in some circumstances, to losing a client or a sale. But the individual who allows a customer to continue a destructive course, without attempting to correct that course, sets himself or herself up for failure.

Summing-up: If we want to have a long-lasting relationship with a client, trust is the way to get it. We have to be self-confidence and have won enough trust so we can tell him that in our professional opinion he is wrong. If the client is reasonable, we will earn more trust by being honest and clear in our relationship.

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