The “customer is always right” is a phrase that is associated with customer satisfaction. This quote was first attributed to Harry Gordon Selfridge, the founder of Selfridge’s department store in London. Selfridge was a former Marshall Field employee who wanted to sell the idea that customers were “special” and deserved better treatment than other customers.
The customer is only sometimes correct, to put it bluntly. But you should pay attention to all customer comments and issues and respond appropriately. For instance, you cannot make an exception for a customer if their request falls outside the parameters of the company’s policies.
In addition, just because you say something doesn’t necessarily mean it is true. Employees must be trained to handle these challenging situations when customers make mistakes. Taking responsibility for a problem that the company isn’t responsible for can result in even higher than necessary expectations and set your team up for failure.
Why Customers Aren’t Always Right in Their Mind
To enhance customer relationships a common mantra in business is that customers are always right is being used by most businesses. It drives employees and companies to go to absurd lengths to satisfy a customer’s needs. But this approach is not only damaging to a business’s morale, but it can also save valuable resources. Worse, it can even hurt your best customers.
For example, a woman who frequently flew on Southwest wrote a letter to the company complaining about various aspects of the company’s operations. Among the complaints was the lack of assigned seats, first-class sections, and meals on board. She also complained about the boarding procedure and the casual atmosphere. As a result, more businesses are abandoning the prevailing philosophy that “the customer is always right.”
The phrase ‘the customer is always right was first used by department store founders around the turn of the 20th century. It was a way for store owners to sell the idea that customers come first, so they should always be treated well. It was also used by retail giants like Selfridges and Marshall Fields.
While Field and Selfridge did not mean the phrase, they wanted their customers to feel special. This is why they told their staff to treat their customers as if they were the only ones who mattered. The phrase ‘the customer is always right was also coined by Cesar Ritz, a famous French hotelier who lived from 1850 to 1918.
Importance of Treating Customers With Compassion
If you want to keep customers satisfied, you have to treat them with compassion and to help track that you need tools like corporate responsibility software. This doesn’t mean being a doormat or giving in to every unreasonable request, but it means being consistent and considerate. It also means empowering your team to treat customers like they deserve your time and respect.
Harry Gordon Selfridge originally coined the phrase ‘the customer is always right in the early 20th century. The phrase has since become an ethos for many businesses. Many declare that employees must follow this code of conduct. But in recent years, it has become weaponized. Its popularity was further inflated after a recent outbreak of coronavirus, which caused consumer rage and exposed the position of customer service workers.
Empathy is different than pity. Empathy seeks to understand another person’s experience by putting yourself in their shoes. It also helps you understand the feelings generated by their experience. By being empathetic and demonstrating gratitude, you can boost customer satisfaction.