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Is the Customer Always Right?

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Is the Customer Always Right?

May 12, 2016

  By Michelle Amodio, TMCnet Contributor

“The customer is always right” is a tried and true adage that exhorts customer service reps and businesses to hold customer satisfaction in the highest esteem. While we’ve known this for the better part of the last century, businesses are at an uncomfortable crossroads when it comes to believing the sentiments behind the statement. It comes down to what you want to accomplish: do you want to keep the customer money or do you want to get rid of customers that simply aren’t worth the time and effort?

In the B2B space, it’s a little more complicated. As Gary Vaynerchuck notes in his recent Huffington Post article, when it comes to problem clients, you can get rid of them, but it will come at a price.

It’s common knowledge that dissatisfaction amongst customers has a significant financial outcome for businesses, and by quantifying this particular impact, businesses can make the moves to correct and establish good customer service practices that will lead to increased revenue, customer retention, and customer loyalty.

However, if a client, particularly in the B2B space, has negatively affected the company in such a way that places the client above the company, then sometimes the customer is wrong.

There will always be customers who make unreasonable requests, and sometimes those customers have unreasonable expectations. Practically speaking, you can’t operate under the assumption that the customer is always right. What is true is the customer always deserves to be treated as if he or she is important and his or her opinions, needs, and wants are worthy of listening to.

All things considered, the customer is always right when they’re purchasing from you. They’re making the right choice for themselves or their company, but it doesn’t stop there. There are downfalls to putting the customers on a pedestal, too.

Assuming ‘the customer is always right’ short-changes them of the professional expertise they are seeking, devalues your offering, and risks losing them to a competitor. Rather than just firing a problematic client, businesses can ask themselves “what more can we do?”

Instead of focusing on the “always right” mantra, maybe it’s about listening to customers’ ideas and opinions, question their preferences and objectives, and add value from knowledge and expertise. It is possible to help a customer understand that they’re not always right, and perhaps working on this by advising them on what is right for them, only then can you achieve customer relationship nirvana.

Your customer trusts you to use your expertise to help them make an informed decision and guide them to the right solution. You’re both worth the effort. 

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