Why The Customer is Always Right, Especially in 2023

As a salesperson, your ultimate goal is to deliver products or services that satisfy your customers’ needs and wants. While you may encounter challenging situations where customers are unhappy or dissatisfied with your offerings, it’s essential to remember that the customer is always right. 

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 and still rings true to this day. 

In 2023, customer-centricity has become more critical than ever, and understanding why the customer is always right is crucial for salespeople of all levels.

Explore five powerful reasons why the customer is always right and how following this principle can lead to better customer satisfaction, loyalty, and, ultimately, increased sales: 

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 learned early on that their businesses’ success depended on the satisfaction of their customers. Interestingly, we learn quite a lot if we examine the global variants of the popularized phrase. 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)
  • In Japanese, it’s “okyakusama wa kamisama desu” (お客様は神様です), (The customer is a god)

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 rings true is that customers 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 capitalize 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?

5 Powerful Reasons Why The Customer Is Always Right Infographic

Is The Customer Always Right?

While the view towards customers has evolved over the years, no matter where you are or what you’re selling, being customer-centric means prioritizing the customer experience.

The customer might not always be right, but being mindful of your approach to customer experience will always serve your bottom line well.

So while customers might not always be right, salespeople must embrace and empathize with customer experience, leading to more successful relationships.

Developing a Customer-First Mindset in 2023

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 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 personalized ordering process.

Alongside this, having the ability to personalize 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 service workflows to smooth the way they handle tickets. For example, one of the customer’s 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 problems.

Provide Data-Driven Insights

Customers today have access to more information and options than ever before, making it critical for salespeople to differentiate themselves by providing a personalized, tailored experience.

By leveraging data, salespeople can gain insights into customer behavior and preferences, enabling them to make more informed decisions and provide targeted recommendations.

Overall, by providing data-driven insights, you can provide customers with a better buying experience, leading to higher customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Prepare Teams for Success

Customer success, support, and experience teams are critical in delivering a customer-centric experience.

Customer success teams ensure that customers achieve their desired outcomes with the product or service, while support teams are responsible for addressing customer issues and concerns. Customer experience teams focus on the customer journey, from initial contact to ongoing engagement.

These teams can work together to provide a seamless, consistent customer experience when they are in sync. This customer-centric approach includes sharing customer data and insights, collaborating on customer interactions, and aligning on the overall customer journey.

By encouraging teams to work together this way, you can ensure that every touchpoint with the customer focuses on delivering value and meeting their needs.

Offer Custom Solutions

Strive to offer personalized solutions to each customer based on their unique needs and preferences.

This approach can involve tailoring product recommendations, providing customized pricing, or offering flexible payment options.

Also read:

Superior Service: Deliver Outstanding Customer Experiences

Superior Service equips participants with the knowledge and application skills to have a positive attitude, go beyond basic customer service, and exceed customers’ expectations with exceptional service.

Through strong content, highly interactive and industry-specific activities, group discussions, role plays, case studies, engaging videos and Q&A, participants will learn how to solve the most demanding customer service challenges and use service as a differentiator.

Customer Service Excellence Training Booklet
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