People are talking about “the customer is always right”

TalkingMy post listing the Top 5 reasons “The Customer Is Always Right” is wrong has spawned a lot of great comments in the post itself and one some other websites including these:

Kinkoids Unite (a site for Kinko’s employees)
“In my region, when an employee is mentioned in a customer complaint, he/she has to apologize to all 11 center managers in a conference call whether they were wrong or wronged.”


“One of the consistent back up statements of “The Customer is Always Right” is the amount of dollars it costs to replace a customer. It costs more to replace a customer than to retain one most times. However, it also costs a lot more to recruit, hire, and train a new employee than it does to keep one happy.”

Excellent point – I never even though of that one.

AdultDVDTalk (huh?)
“Unfortunately though, most companies in the customer service arena no longer even teach the basics of customer service. They just assume that it is a common-sense thing. Having spent 20 years interviewing job applicants, I can also say that there is no such thing as common sense! Just take a look at the high school and college grads showing up for job interviews in jeans and tee-shirts or chewing gum…or my favorite was the young lady who excused herself to answer her cell phone and carry on a brief but totally unnecessary conversation!”

That’s true too. Remember: Just because the customer is not always right doesn’t mean the employees are always right either. It can be (gasp) more complicated than that.

“On a very, very small number of occasions in my various service roles over the years, I’ve asked customers to leave the establishment because they were incorribly belligerent, hostile and abusive, and flat-out refused to accept any attempt to satisfy them. In these cases, the people were shopping for a fight rather than a commodity.”

Shopping for a fight rather than a commodity – what an excellent expression!

Management Line has an Australian perspective:
“I have consistently stood up for my staff and either shut up or evicted such people from the area.
The interesting thing is that far from losing customers, quite often – in fact more often than not – other customers will come forward and either lend support or on several occasions, come forward and let someone know that if we had backed down they themselves would have walked away.”

Yay! Your other customers may be watching and when they see unreasonable people getting better treatment that may offend their sense of fairness. You either lose a customer or gain one more “bad” customer.

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