Are customers always right? Let’s discuss.

Pretty hipster on the phone in a bright roomWe’ve probably all heard the phrase “the customer is always right.” This is a phrase that has been accredited to a few people including retailer Harry Gordon Selfridge. While the saying itself leads one to believe that the customer is never going to be wrong, the actual idea is that the customer should leave happy. The intent is to keep customers satisfied and returning. However, the saying can feel misleading. So, is the customer ever wrong? Technically, yes. There are times when a customer may have misunderstood something or may have an emotional outburst and even treat service agents poorly. So, technically, “the customer is always right,” isn’t right. There’s more to pleasing the customer and keeping a happy workforce.

Instead of saying, “the customer is always right,” and trying to meet that demand, let’s recognize the obvious, sometimes customers will be wrong. Once we recognize that, we can meet the customer demand better.

Service agents who talk with customers should be empathetic and sympathetic, providing a listening ear and an understanding mind. If a customer has misunderstood something, an agent can kindly and thoughtfully explain the misunderstanding so that they have a correct comprehension. Say, for example a customer misjudges how a product works, providing accurate information can help the customer and the company. If a customer calls in feeling emotional, a service agent can respond to this with a cool and collected demeanor. This in turn can often ease the customer and help calm them down as well.

The fact is the customer will sometimes be wrong, and knowing how to handle these situations is important for service agents. When this can be discussed openly, it can better serve the agent and help them to know how to comfortably tackle the situations while also providing customers with the best service possible. Does that mean we should make a point of telling them they’re wrong, probably not in such a direct manner. Instead, we should focus on providing accurate information and finding a solution for the situation.

While customers may not always be right, they should have the opportunity to discuss concerns, questions, and frustrations with a representative. They should leave a conversation feeling heard. It should also be easy for them to reach an agent when it’s convenient for them. Providing a listening ear, convenience, and acknowledging their needs can go a long way to keeping customers happy and loyal.

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