You’ve heard it many times before, “The customer is always right.” We often hear things like this and take it on face value and believe it’s true even when it’s simply not the case. No one is always right, not even me (especially me), all of the time. But, there is a some truth in it from a business person’s perspective, in order to keep customers happy and the buzz high, it’s often a good idea to act as if the customer is always right.
Some Customers Are Jerks
There are times where the customer is not only wrong, but they’re a jerk. Employees and staff should be able to make judgement calls and let a customer go if they’re truly wrong and there is no way to fix the issue. Let them refund their money and recommend someone else.
Some Customers Won’t Ever Be Happy
They’re really just a problem because nothing will make them happy. They just like to complain and abuse other people. This type of customer needs to be let go as well. But first, it’s good to try to make the customer happy by trying to find common ground. If you can’t do it, it’s okay; let them go.
Social Media Emboldens Some Customers
You’ve seen scathing reviews on places like Yelp for a business where the writer didn’t bother leaving their name, their spelling is poor, their grammar is non-existent, and they’re really just not making any sense. The reason is that social media to some people gives them a sense of privacy and allows them to be hidden and anonymous.
Some Customers Need to Go Elsewhere
The fact is, some customers just aren’t worth the hassle. It’s a fact of doing business that time is money, and if you’re not going to make a profit on your work then you have no reason to do the work. There are some types of customers that will bleed you dry and you’ll never make a profit from them. When you find you have a problem customer, the best way to do it is to refund their money and send them on their way in a polite and friendly way… you’ll get rid of the headaches and be able to spend more time on those customers that are a pleasure to work with.
Your Resources Are Finite
Even if you wanted to handhold every last customer’s hand, you just don’t have time or the resources to do it. Therefore each time something happens, you have to figure out what is the best course of action. The best course is usually the one that helps you make more money.
There’s More to Life than Money
Having said that, there is more to life than money and it will show in your actions. If you’re too money centric and not people centric, you may actually struggle to make more money. People can see through you when you act like that.
So the short answer to whether the customer is always right is “no” – of course not. But, sometimes you have to suck it up and just refund their money or try to make it right if you can. If you can’t make it right, at least make them think you think they’re right as you show them the door.
One thing I would add is this, often when you win an argument with a customer you lose that customer, so sometimes it is often better to acknowledge how a customer feels and to work to resolve an issue rather than win an argument… provided of course they are a customer worth keeping.