Hailed as the definitive rule of customer service, the phrase “the customer is always right” was coined by Harry Gordon Selfridge in the early 1900s. While it still rings true to this day, its effectiveness has been thoroughly debated – and for a good reason. In this short article, we will give you five powerful reasons why the customer is always right.
- 6 Reasons Why The Customer Is NOT Always Right
- 10 Key Principles of Achieving Customer Service Excellence
- 8 Ways To Align Sales & Customer Service
An overview of “The Customer is Always Right“
Before we dive into the five powerful reasons why the customer is always right, it’s important to understand the origins. The phrase was pioneered by three majorly successful retailers in the 1900s, Harry Gordon Selfridge, John Wanamaker and Marshall Field. Ultimately, they learnt early on that their businesses’ success depended on the satisfaction of their customers. Interestingly, if we examine the global variants of the popularized phrase, we learn quite a lot. For example:
- In French, the phrase translated to “Le client n’a jamais tort” (the customer is never wrong)
- The phrase in german is “Der Kunde ist König” (the customer is king)
- In Spanish, the phrase is “El cliente siempre tiene la razón.” (the customer always has a reason)
- In Italian, it’s “il cliente ha sempre ragione.” (the customer always has a reason)
Regardless of where or who you are, the phrase serves as a reminder that our role is customer-centric and depends entirely on understanding the customer experience.
5 Powerful Reasons Why The Customer is Always Right
The truth is, the phrase isn’t intended to be taken literally. Rather a motto to live by in customer service. While delighting your customers should be your top priority, you also need to decide whether your customers are worth the extra effort. For example, is your ideal customer someone who makes your employees miserable? We think not! When applied correctly, there are various benefits you can expect to receive. So here are five powerful reasons why the customer is always right:
1. Customers make or break a business
The first reason why the customer is always right is that they make or break a business. For instance, customer complaints can hurt your business. Their complaints, feedback and opinions are invaluable for understanding your target market in terms of what they want and need in your service or product. Because frankly, if you don’t – your competitor will, and you’re just providing them with a roadmap to steal your customer base! Consequently, the best way to ensure you’re taking all feedback on board is to set up several strategies for receiving and dealing with complaints quickly and efficiently.
2. Backlash is dangerous
Backlash can be the death of a business, especially if it takes place online. Just one bad review can be a very costly mistake to fix. Again, this is a compelling reason to keep your customers happy because competitors will be able to see this and will most definitely capitalise upon your demise.
3. Happy customers multiply
Happiness is contagious, so providing excellent customer service and always focusing on the fact that the customer is always right will help multiply your custom. In addition, your customer base will grow organically as loyal customers recommend you to their family, friends or colleagues – leaving you with more time to focus on your loyal customers.
4. It’s a benchmark for customer service excellence
The customer service experience that you provide is responsible for either customer loyalty or customer loss. Therefore, every customer is invaluable and should be treated as such. However, it’s not always about going the extra mile – communication is key to understanding your customers’ challenges to provide a solution. For this reason, the customer is always right and should be held as a benchmark of customer service excellence.
5. New revenue avenues
Remember that feedback from earlier on in the article? You’re going to use this to identify your customers’ pain points and find the solution to create more opportunities for future customers. After all, acquiring new customers can be a huge investment of time, money and patience – why not get ahead in understanding your customers’ needs and open up more avenues of revenue?
What does ‘The Customer is Always Right’ mean in a digital-first world?
While it’s been more than a century since ‘the customer is always right’ became the definitive rallying cry for customer empathy and respect. The world and its technology have since changed.
Yet our goal as salespeople remains the same; to provide authentic, valuable and helpful customer interactions that help people solve problems.
But how does ‘the customer is always right’ work in a digital-first world? Well, while every business is different, here are some guidelines to ensure that you lead interactions with a customer-first mindset:
Know your customers
You need to know your customers inside and out to attain customer loyalty. According to Salesforce, “73% of global customers expect companies to understand their unique needs and expectations. But how do you get this right in a digital-first world?
Many companies are turning to ai for sales to achieve these expectations at scale. There are numerous smart technologies in artificial intelligence for sales that directly impact the success of your business.
For instance, AI includes technology like Deep Learning, Machine Learning, Computer Vision and Natural Language Processing. When applied well, ai for sales can be an invaluable tool that helps you reach specific and targeted prospects by connecting significant amounts of information. Which would usually be time-consuming and, thus, speeds up the process to facilitate more leads.
Meet them where they are
90% of B2B customers start their B2B buying journey with an online search. So it’s clear to say that, in this digital-first world, buyers prefer to self-serve. They want to research the solution to their problems online rather than having face-to-face interactions with sales reps.
More so, it’s predicted that by 2025, 80% of B2B sales interactions between suppliers and buyers will occur in digital channels. So, to compete and succeed with digital self-service, your customer portal must provide them with a personalised ordering process.
Alongside, having the ability to personalise offers, promotions, prices, and payment terms can help to up-sell and cross-sell products. As well as encourage product trials and increase basket size, which ultimately all adds up to more revenue as well as meeting them where they are.
Provide excellent customer service interactions
One of the main facets of customer loyalty is customer satisfaction. That’s why speedy replies are a top customer retention strategy, and ideally, they’re attached to a fast solution. So much so that 73% of Zendesk customers surveyed in their 2021 Customer Experience Trend Report said that “speedy support resolutions” are fundamental to a good customer experience.
To deliver faster customer service support, you should consider simplifying customer services workflows to smooth over the way they handle tickets. For example, one of customers biggest pet peeves is having to provide information multiple times. To avoid this, you can create various support request forms and conditional ticket fields to give your customers a relatable form that only asks for information related to their problem.