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The customer is always wrong

If a customer addressed us, means that in some field we know and master things much better than they do.
The question is: can the customer be «always right» in such a situation?
Let’s go through the proving the thesis above.

1 «Always» is an absolute value.

No exception. Thus, if you got 100 customers, and all of them are «always right», and you’re wrong, while it happens in the field of your professional activity, - this can mean that your customer is always right, and you are neither proficient nor experienced in your business. As this is not the case, and you are actually proficient, qualified, and have a big experience in your field, then your customer cannot be «always» right in terms of logic.

2 History of a matter

Phrase «The Customer is Always right» was originally used in 1909 by Harry Gordon Selfridge, the founder of Selfridge store in London. This phrase is typically used in order to:
  • make customers believe that they will get an excellent service
  • make staff members provide an excellent service to the customers
Let’s refer to a logical reasoning. Imagine that you are a client, and now you know this phrase, and realize the reason it came into the usage. Thus, regardless of any company’s actual quality, it is unlikely for them to make you believe that they are really cool. You rather need a quality product from them, than some statements, don’t you?

Another thing to mention: you are ordering some work from a one single expert, who is going to accomplish it independently, without being pushed by a bunch of managers. Why would this person be clingy in providing you with quality service?

In other words, we strongly recommend you to avoid companies, which use concepts like «director » staff member». We state that any great and successful organization has a leader, who sees themselves in the same boat with everyone else.

3 Logical judging

We’re all humans, and all of us make mistakes. Even the mega-proficient and famous specialist might make a mistake. What actually makes us more successful and stronger, lays in ability to realize own mistakes, to recognize them and to correct them appropriately.

Any expert gains their skills and status throughout the years. And yet there is no limit to perfection. The more proficient you are, the stronger your passion is to develop and improve. Professional experience, which originated the hearing and understanding ability in us, has proven that there is a more logical phrase to express the matter:
The Customer is not Always Right
Such a statement is quite logical, and makes sense. Any expert has to listen to the thoughts occurring on the customer’s side, and then to analyze them and makes a professional decision. Do you agree with that? Let’s go on.

4 Diverse Mentality

CIS Business approach is drastically different from the one of Europe’s. Kindness and thoughtfulness are being taken as «weakness» in CIS. This is where customers’ quite predictable attempts to push on the seller come from.
Meanwhile, in EU and on the West in general, seller’s kindness and thoughtfulness are taken more adequately by customers. This is another reason not to take the phrase «The customer is always right» as a gospel.

5 Creative Thinking

Imagine an expert of any framework: design, programming, music, architecture, etc. And then imagine another side, - the customer from the tale called «customers are always right». To start off, creative activity can easily be fuzzy, that’s what makes it creative. It always gets across some borders to originate something new and better. By killing the creativity, such a customer affects the final result.

Let’s support this thesis using one example: customer places an order of a billboard design. Throughout their life, the customer has seen about 500 various billboards, but not the one suggested by the expert designer. Here the customer might say, «well, we never have seen anything like that before, so we won’t even consider it!»

At the same time, designer have personally sketched about 500 billboards before, as well as seen more than 5000 of them. Also, the advertising campaign may have various outcomes, depending on target audience research, as well as designer’s many years’ experience in organizing a lot of successful advertising campaigns.

Now the question is coming up: have we gone through all these steps? The answer is no, because we have stopped at the point when the customer’s opinion prevented us from moving further. Is the customer a psychic? I don’t think so. This, there is no way the customer can be 100% right.
Incredible Ideas Most Often Lead to the Incredible Results

6 Some examples

A customer came to the dealer’s shop and silently chose a car. After that, an experienced consultant recommended some additional packages to the client. This may lead to the client choosing the option offered by a staff member, or even some totally different car instead of the one they chose initially.
This easily proves that the customer is NOT always right.

The customer comes to the grocery store to buy some beer. He just bought some beer and left, correct? Not quite. This happens in poorly run stores maybe. Thoughtfully managed stores have a snack section right next to the beer shelves, and this is done for a reason by the managing staff.
The staff is right. And, if the customer thinks that they run the store wrongly, he’s wrong again!

The customer relied on professional’s skills in an interior renovation, and informs the expert on their wishes and expectations. Will the expert silently perform as it directed? Well, he most probably will suggest some points, which may result in much better look and the renovation will be more practical and money saving.
Conclusion: the Customer wasn’t right.

The client orders a website designing. She knows roughly, what she wants, but is not updated on all opportunities and methods, which may increase her sales. Highly professional manager has to offer all of these, explaining details to the customer. She wants a lemon yellow color, and manager states that such a color will trigger wrong emotions in terms of her website’s themes.
Conclusion: the Client is wrong.

7 Happy ending

Notice that any of us can be both in service and being served on daily basis. That’s why we do our best to treat people with respect. Thanks for your time. We hope that our article has helped you to get rid of the idea about the «infallible customer», and view the matter from different angle.
The article was written thanks to 2 customers (out of about 500), who were courageous enough to share their thoughts with us (probably, it was the side effect of social networking).
Please don’t mind the «yellow» headline. It served its purpose: to attract you to read this page. The sensible conclusion from this, as well as our belief, can be stated as «The customer is not always right».

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The customer is always wrong
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Published: 09 Jun 2015
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