The Customer is NOT always right! Today, I stand in front of you and commit the ultimate in business heresy by asserting that, the customer is NOT always right. While speakers and consultants have made millions by saying your customer is your business and without the customer there is no business! Or they will tell you that if the service is not good enough, then the customer seeks out better service somewhere else. All of these truths have very little to do with whether or not the customer is always right, sometimes right, or never right!
The statement “The Customer is NOT always right!” is much deeper than servicing the customer. It is more about the small number of jerks who might find their way to your door and then they try to get “something for nothing” by complaining and making up stories! Maybe he or she wants to use every policy to their favor, to take advantage of you, and if you don’t do as they say they will tell all of their friends or call your boss or his boss until they get what they want. Meanwhile, everyone who knows them probably knows that they are a jerk, so maybe the threat is no big deal.
It took me a long while to grasp that many stupid people proudly identify themselves whenever they feel it necessary. In most cases they unconsciously self select themselves to a cause or unforeseen right that they feel they are entitled to. Individuals that have wisdom and judgment feel no need to identify themselves because they exhibit control & decorum. I want to acknowledge the later! Ignorance usually prevails and the idiots make all of the noise, while the people who exercise some self control are often over looked.
So when someone shoots out the old tired (nearly ridiculous) phrase “The Customer is Always Right” I cringe! Nothing could be further from the truth! Customers that have legitimate needs and concerns are always right, as long as they have a valid complaint or concern, and they voice it in a mature and dignified way. Those loud mouthed, fouled tongued, closed mined people, and those “blow hards” with self control issues, and those morons who have border line psychiatric problems, are never right! Never!
Beware of these buffoons, though, because they are everywhere. You can see them in the super market, hear their horns in the car behind you, hear their loud obnoxious voices at an office, and if you are unfortunate enough to be in a hospital bed, to make matters worse, you may possibly have an idiot laying in the bed next you. Don’t get me wrong we all have stupid in us, from time to time, but hopefully most adults only experience “something slipping out,” every once in a great while!
Today’s society is filled with what I like to call “Unconscious Incompetents.” There are many of them around these days! I worry about my children and yours! When my daughters make a mistake or they begin to act up, they feel bad and they tell me they are sorry or it was an accident. An accident? I love that one! No, this was no accident it was a control issue. They wanted something…they couldn’t have it…so they lost control. As a parent it’s up to me to make them understand that they can lose control. I in return can loose control and beat them. This would only prove one thing, that it’s OK for an adult to lose control. Life is a vicious cycle. So instead, I choose to sit them down and explain why what they did was wrong, and how in the future, they will lose items that they like if they choose to lose control again. This is a slow process! I hope they look back at it as a learning experience. My point is this; children that are allowed to lose control and its acceptable by their parents, will grow up to be these moronic adults that lose control and they see no problem with it.
I was listening to a newscaster on the radio a few weeks back. He was explaining that someone fell off a cruise ship into the ocean and summed it up as an accident. Really? An accident? How does one start heading down the path to such an accident? Hmmm…let me think…the person might have been drinking then fell off the ship. Was this customer right? No accident…just a series of stupid events followed by falling off of a cruise ship. I have been on a cruise ship and I have no idea how you can accidentally fall off the ship. I would love to understand it better.
When I watch TV, I see these people whine about losing their houses, their fortunes, their businesses and so forth. These idiots blame George Bush, Bernie Madoff, The Economy, Mortgage Brokers, Republicans, Democrats, the Media, et cetera, for their misfortunes. The bottom line is that we have only ourselves to blame. Sure some problems are unavoidable. They seem to find us out of the blue. That’s life! I think of it like this; the bigger the problem, the better & stronger I feel when I solve it! Problems aren’t without a lot of pain. People will die, people will suffer, you may suffer, and there will be times when you wish you were dead. Please don’t whine, don’t take it out on others, just be strong, smile & move on! If you feel slighted don’t lose control. Discuss!
When you discuss a problem with someone and the other person doesn’t “get it” and there is no chance that they ever will, you have to understand that you are not alone. Someone once said “you can’t argue with ignorance.” This is a very true statement. I would ask why would you want to argue with an ignorant person? Why would you let it get to the argue stage? Would you ask someone in a wheelchair to get up and walk? Then why ask someone who is incapable of reasoning and understanding? The only thing that can happen is that you will get frustrated, and I say “shame on you!”
So where did the old mantra “The Customer is Always Right” come from? Research has shown that two companies used this silly slogan, in their advertising to woo customers. The first company was Marshall Field’s department store, (established in the late 19th century). The store was an icon in Chicago until in 2006 when it was bought by Macy’s. The other was Mr. Harry Gordon Selfridge, the founder of London’s Selfridges Store, who was born in Wisconsin. Mr. Selfridge worked for Field’s from 1879 to 1901. I guess he had a career with them for 22 years, while giving the occasional idiot customer the benefit if the doubt!
If you are in business, you obviously want to be fair, and take care of problems that your customers will occasionally have. You also want to make sure that no one treats you as a door mat, and walks all over you. If you know a customer is blatantly trying to rip you off, it might be a better idea to stand up to them and not let them get away with it. At the Walt Disney Company, they have a backstage saying, “Our guests may not always be right, but they will always be our guests!”