Have you been in a situation where in one customer gets irate because the store is not selling pen? The man keeps arguing triumphantly and at the top of his lungs, “gosh, PENSHOPPE don’t sell pens?!”
It’s an old joke junk on my document list actually. Of course, Penshoppe is a clothing line company not a pen manufacturer or distributor even though the name itself suggest for a pen store.
Would you rather believe that a customer is totally wrong despite the adage “customer is always right?” The statement is blunt and absolute. It says “always right” not “some” or at least “few.” It doesn’t give a leeway or at least a dichotomy between a right and a wrong customer – fading out an employee’s burning torch of a comely customer service – believe it or not.
The term was coined by Harry Gordon Selfridge, the owner of the Selfridge’s Department Store in London in 1909. This simply to let customers know that they’ll get the best service in the queue and to let the employee render the said maxim to the customer absolutely.
At first glance nothing is wrong; service is your means of satisfying a customer’s want and you do it by letting your employee meek to the imperative “customer is always right.” And that he should give a customer match sticks in case a he loves to set the store on fire.
Few companies doesn’t buy this ideology – including the editor himself, for after few unitary concessions they’ve found out that it leads to bad customer service after all, though you might want to please customers. Nevertheless, as the philosopher Aristotle said that the “mean of virtue” dictates what is a good man, so does the mean of virtue of customer service. By “mean of virtue” we strike the balance between a customer and an employee, not of customer alone. Here are few shots turning down and lighting up the dark side of “customer is always right.”
1. IT MAKES EMPLOYEES UNHAPPY
This proves that the adage itself is customer centered. It doesn’t matter of what and who you are in the company as long as you please your customer – end of the line – even up to the extent of the client’s capriciousness.
Let’s take it from Gordon Bethune of Texas, a corporate director and formation guru who turned Continental Airlines from its chaotic and worst working arena to being the best if not the finest of it.
His logic is simple.
He sides with employees in dealing with fastidious costumer instead of just broaching, “huh, customer is always right!” In the airlines, “just because you buy a ticket does not give you the right to abuse our employees,” he asserts.
Honoring a customer asking for recompense of the lack of anything whimsical on the table doesn’t make sense or worse calling forth the employee’s welfare in the company. Later, we’ll find out why we take considerably the side of the employee instead of the customer. It doesn’t mean that we are sparing the rod for unbecoming employees doing lousy jobs. Nevertheless, reasoning that customer is “always right” is worst and counter-productive.
2. IT GIVES ABRASIVE CUSTOMERS AN UNFAIR ADVANTAGE
It’s clear as glass; business maxim such as this will obviously give abusive customer more access to employees’ tender emotions and sense of dignity. It adds more weight to an employee’s yoke of carrying on his job. Worst, is yet to come with his paycheck that doesn’t get even with his daily fare.
“Customer is always right” principle would also mean that abusive customer scrapes better treatment than those who are not. What makes sense to me is when you rather treat a nice customer so that she or he would keep coming back. Abusive or rather fussy customers are very expensive to maintain financially and interpersonally. They tend to suck up all the energy and patience that you have.
3. SOME CUSTOMERS ARE BAD FOR BUSINESS
If “customer is always right” makes a customer feels good does it means that you can please everybody? I don’t think so. Even a narcissistic principle like this fails to please every customer that doesn’t want to be pleased. Some are not even customers; they’re just there for mere sarcasm. Thus, a company loyal to such belief is more tantamount to losing employees – business suffers as an outset.
Here we realize that the more you please customers inordinately, the more you realize that you are losing your business, and not just business but people around you who helped you reach the summit of your company’s potentials.
I guess we really have to be used to the fact that “not all customers are right.” We have to be grateful if majority of them are really right customers and the minority belongs to the vile underworld of business.
4. IT RESULTS TO BAD CUSTOMER SERVICE
I guess here we already have the jest of our exegesis. If the first principle is customer centric now it’s employee centric. It means the world revolves around the employees now.
According to my research, Rosenbluth International, a corporate travel agency, with it’s CEO Hal Rosenbluth put’s emphasis more on employees and put customer second, “put your people first and watch ‘em kick butt,” he exclaims.
There is a certain principle that asserts, “you cannot give what you do not have.” What your employee cannot have in the company he cannot give to the costumer. Try to be obstinate to your employees and same or even worst thing will reverberate throughout your company. Rosenbluth firmly believes that when you put your employees first, they put the customers first.
Now, the crux of the matter is no other then HAPPINESS. When an employee is happy, at ease and comfortable in his work due to the management’s good company with them, they naturally exude a warm character towards their customer.
Happiness is one of the language of the soul and the lifeblood of customer service. Rosenbluth observes that when an employee is happy he tends to care more about other people, obviously including customers; they have more energy, therefore more enthusiastic and more fun to talk with, hence attracting more customers; more so, customers that are happy are highly motivated and learn things more easily.
However if the opposite of what have been mentioned above prevails in the company, real customer service becomes skin-deep, employees do things for the sake of doing no more no less – you won’t see fire in their eyes.
5. SOME CUSTOMERS ARE JUST PLAIN WRONG
End of our story. Bosses and executives getting side to bad customers are entertaining bad ideas. It shows how disparate your business is! As if you’re willing to eat frogs just to please a customer and then fire a top performing employee just because once he has offended or hadn’t pleased a customer.
A demise of an employee to his job might even be expensive rather than losing a customer, practically considering its training and time spent to hone a certain field of work.
To employees who are experiencing the “customer is always right” phenomenon in a company and have actually experienced a cup of tea swooshed your face, loose yourself away from that job and then run like hell! That company will make you a pincushion of all bad words, curse, bitchy and profane exploit of the customer while they get the profit for themselves.
Nevertheless, “customer is always right” as long as it really redeems the righteous one.