ARE CUSTOMERS ALWAYS RIGHT?

Adewale, Boluwatife Oluyemisi

     Recently at the mall, an avoidable altercation ensued between an employee and a customer. They kept arguing back and forth till we heard a resounding slap, Toai! “Aahan, e don reach this level?”* I asked myself. Now, here is the background story to what happened: The supposed customer came to the mall to get some groceries, but while at the cashier’s desk, she kept wasting time by replacing the stuff she had bought with another, and this got the cashier somewhat confused and apprehensive. “Madam, could you please step aside to sort your things out? I don’t want to keep other customers waiting”, the cashier explained. “What do you mean?” asked the customer. The cashier politely tried to calm the atmosphere because a scene was playing out. However, the slap that followed annulled that attempt.

      An often-quoted catchphrase in the business world is that the “customer is always right.” This phrase was originally coined in 1990 by Harry Gordon Selfridge, the founder of Selfridge’s Department Store in London, and is often used by businesses to convince customers that they would get the best services offered to them at their company and to manipulate convince their employees to accept whatever the customer wants and to render services in the best manner possible.

      However, I do not agree with this notion because the customer cannot ALWAYS be right. If the customer is always right, the company will face severe consequences by placing their businesses and everyone connected with it in the danger zone, including the customers. 

Here are 4 reasons customers are not always right:

1. Customers are NOT experts: Expertise is one of the most important prerequisites of employment. Even after employment, employees go through on-the-job training, seminars, conferences and workshops that equip them with important skills and allow them to function well. Hence, more often than not, consumers need to trust the professionals.

2. Your employees are your first customers: 

This might sound odd but it is the truth. Richard Branson, an English Business magnate said: “Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of your clients.” Of course, the customers remain kings, but the employees are the ambassadors of your brand. An employee is the first contact a customer has to a business, thus the smile or sigh from an employee matters. A satisfied employee will serve better and give a positive impression of the brand to the customer. Therefore, treat your employees better: they are your first customers. If you respect your workers, your consumers would learn to respect them.

3. Not all customers are yours: 

The business idea and vision you created is not for everyone. Just as you are not for everyone, so is your business! Not all customers are indispensable, and the business world must accept that. It is better to do away with a customer who is incorrigibly toxic than to lose an efficient employee. Market your products to as many customers as you can target, but be careful not to lose your target customers while trying to please toxic customers.

4. Misinterpretation — The newly found right: 

Over time, it has been observed that misinterpretation of words or actions is the predominant cause of wild reactions between customers and employees. Sadly, this has become the new right in most parts of the business world. It might be in any form, from words exchanged, incomprehensive explanations, to complaints about the products. Just like the brief story earlier, the customer misinterpreted the statement of the employee and went bizarre. If the customer had listened to the employee and understood what was said, none of that would have happened.

In conclusion, excellent customer service is the heart of any business, and entrepreneurs must put in the effort to make customers happy and satisfied. However, if you adopt, “The customer is always right” policy, you might end up breaking your business since, in the real sense, no one is always right. A better proposition is to train employees to be skilful, to make rational decisions and trust them to take care of the customers without empowering the rude ones over them.

*pidgin for ‘’has it gotten to this?”

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15 Comments »

  1. My mom’s always says the same thing, that customers are not always right, if a customer behave stupidly, he/she will be treated stupidly. You’re giving us your money for our goods doesn’t make us your attendant. Nice piece dear. ♥️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Someone shared this link with me and I enjoyed it,but I would have loved it more if you gave us the employer’s stand on that particular mall issue.na d employer attitude go tell us who dey right(lol)
    Secondly,customer is here to stay because it is the reason the business exists,so whatever it takes to massage their Egos will do,even if calling them King. So it’s just an appellate.

    Liked by 1 person

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