Is The Customer Always Right?

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The customer may not always be right, but in reality, at least in 99 out of 100 occasions, the customer may think that he/ she is always right!

From a seller’s point of view “the customer is always right” is an ideal, a very lofty one, aimed at satisfying customer at all costs and through this satisfaction trying to gain more business from them directly and indirectly. When there has to be a business, there have to be customers, without whom the business is defunct. The more satisfied the customers are, the healthier the business is.

This is precisely what Mahatma Gandhi conveys through his famous quote:

“A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work – he is the purpose of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us the opportunity to serve him.”

But does it mean that a customer is to be treated as always right even if he/she is wrong? In this world, are there not cheats and frauds who try to take undue advantage of a seller’s inclination to treat the customer as always right? Sometimes right and wrong may border on a very wafer thin boundary. Sometimes what is legally right may be morally wrong.

Sometimes, when a customer is legally and morally wrong, proving it too bluntly may be legally and morally right, but diplomatically wrong! When the customer is obviously wrong, it is not always obviously right to state it so. Handling customer complaints requires lots of tact, give and take.

The manager as well as personnel in charge of customer service should never be too stiff-necked and bureaucratic persons. The customer service Manager must be a tactful person, who should be in a position to gauge the customer’s true intent and temperament and react accordingly, so that when the customer departs, he does so with a positive impression, irrespective of whether he is right or wrong.

In many situations, if at all there is one single factor that determines the “right” or “wrong” in a dispute between the customer and the seller, it is the ego factor. An extremely egoistic customer would never accept that he is wrong even if 100% proof is made to him. There are also occasions when spilling of a few “excessive” and “offensive” words knowingly or unknowingly by a wronged customer who is right may end up hurting the ego of the Customer-service person and his wounded ego may tempt him to go all out in the offensive and end up proving that the customer is wrong!


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