Hailed as the definitive and ultimate rule of customer service, the phrase “the customer is always right” was coined by Harry Gordon Selfridge in the early 1900s and still rings true to this day. However, its effectiveness has been thoroughly debated – and for a good reason, but in this short article, we will give you five powerful reasons why the customer is always right.
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An overview of the customer is always right
Now, before we dive into the six 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)
- In German the phrase 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)
Therefore we can deduce that regardless of where or who you are, the phrase “the customer is always right” serves as a reminder that our role is customer-centric and depends entirely on understanding the customer experience.
6 Powerful reasons why the customer is always right
The truth is, the phrase the customer is always right 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! However, 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 this reason, 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 | The customer is always right
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 is always right
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 should be held as a benchmark of customer service excellence.
5. You’ll discover 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?