Why The Customer is Always Right, Especially in 2024

As a salesperson, your ultimate goal is to deliver products or services that satisfy your customers’ needs and wants. If you ever face tough situations where customers aren’t satisfied, always keep in mind: the customer is always right.

In 2024, putting customers at the center of everything has become more important than ever. It’s crucial for salespeople at all levels to understand why the customer is always right.

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

Who Originally said “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.

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.

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)

No matter where you are or who you are, this phrase reminds us that we should always focus on the customer and understand their experience.

How Do We Explain “The Customer Is Always Right?”

Explaining “the customer is always right” is like saying customers come first. It means treating customers as if they’re always correct, even when there are problems. 

This idea emphasizes the importance of making customers happy because happy customers help a business succeed. So, when we say the customer is always right, it’s about putting their needs first and doing our best to keep them satisfied.

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 as a customer service agent.

Your primary objective should be making your customers happy. However, you also need to decide if putting in extra effort for your customers is worth it.

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 customers can significantly impact the success or failure of a business.

Because frankly, if you don’t – your competitor will, and you’re just providing them with a roadmap to steal your customer base!

The best way to ensure you’re taking all feedback on board is to set up several strategies for receiving and handling complaints promptly.

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 an important reason to keep your customers happy because competitors will notice it and may take advantage of your downfall.

3. Happy Customers Multiply

Happiness is contagious, providing excellent customer service and always focusing on the idea that the customer is always right will help multiply your customer base.

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.

Every customer is invaluable and should be treated as such. It’s not just about going the extra mile – communication is key to understanding your customers’ challenges in providing a solution. That’s why, “the customer is always right” should be held as a benchmark of customer service excellence.

5. New Revenue Avenues

Remember that feedback from earlier on in the article? Use it to identify your existing customers’ pain points and find the solution to create more opportunities for future customers.

After all, gaining new customers demands a huge investment of time, money, and patience, why not get ahead in understanding your customers’ needs to explore more avenues of revenue?

5 Powerful Reasons Why The Customer Is Always Right Infographic

Should we be in favor of “The Customer is Always Right”?

Over the years, the view towards customers has evolved. No matter where you are or what you’re selling, being customer-centric means making the customer experience a top priority.

While the customer may not always be right, staying mindful of your approach to improve customer experience will always serve your bottom line well.

Salespeople should embrace and empathize with the customer experience, leading to more successful relationships.

So, yes, being in favor of “The customer is always right” will support this mission.

How Do We Deal With An Angry Customer?

As we’ve established how we should treat the customer as “always right”, it can be challenging to deal with an angry customer. Here are a few high-level simple steps:

  1. Stay Calm: Keep your composure and remain calm throughout the conversation.
  2. Listen Carefully: Pay full attention to what the customer is upset about.
  3. Apologize Sincerely: Offer a genuine apology for any issues they are facing.
  4. Understand Their Concerns: Make an effort to understand the specific problems or issues they’re encountering.
  5. Find a Solution: Give an estimated turnaround time until you get back to them with a resolution. Work collaboratively with other stakeholders to find a solution to their problem. Finding a solution is a team effort.
  6. Communicate Clearly: Clearly communicate what steps you can take to resolve their concerns.
  7. Be Understanding: Show empathy and understanding towards the customer’s feelings of frustration.
  8. Turn it Around: By addressing their concerns and finding a solution, you can transform an unhappy customer into a satisfied one.

How Does “The Customer is Always Right” Work in a Digital-First World?

Though it’s been more than a century since ‘the customer is always right’ became the clear call for customer empathy and respect, the world and its technology have changed since then.

Yet our goal as salespeople stays unchanged: to offer authentic, valuable, and helpful customer interactions that aid people in solving problems.

Although every business is different, here are some guidelines to ensure that you approach 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. It can help you reach specific and targeted prospects by connecting significant amounts of information. Which would usually be time-consuming and, thus, speed up the process to facilitate more leads.

Meet Customers 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 take place in digital channels. So, to compete and succeed with digital self-service, your customer portal must offer a personalized experience.

In addition, being able 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 responding quickly is a key customer retention strategy, and ideally, they’re linked 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 provide faster customer service support, consider simplifying the workflows to streamline how tickets are being handled.

For example, one of the customer’s biggest pet peeves is having to provide information multiple times.

To avoid this, create different support request forms and conditional ticket fields. Give your customers a form tailored to their issues to prevent them from providing redundant information.

Provide Data-Driven Insights

Salespeople must stand out by offering a personalized, tailored experience since customers now have more information and options than ever before.

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 service, support, and experience teams are critical to delivering a customer-centric experience.

Customer service teams help customers achieve their desired outcomes with the product or service, while support teams address 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 team members 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.

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Summing up: Fostering Trust in the Customer Journey

In our final thoughts, we understand the need to balance great customer service with “buyer beware” and “caveat emptor.” These principles advise customers to verify and be certain of their purchases. Customers should be well-informed and careful in department stores or wherever customer complaints are prevalent. As salespeople, we need to strive to give clear and truthful information.

This ensures that we make every sale with the customer’s best interests at heart. Such an approach creates a trusting environment that values customers and views sales professionals as reliable advisors.

Deliver Outstanding Customer Experiences with Superior Service Training

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.

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

Customer Service Excellence Training Booklet
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