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Lola Odele: Are Customers Always Right?



The customer is always right is a well-known phrase coined by Harry Gordon Selfridge in 1909. As the founder of Selfridge’s department store in London, he emphasized the importance of providing excellent customer service by creating a welcoming environment where customers can indulge themselves. This model was immediately adopted by other businesses across the world.

The notion that “the customer is always right” has, in many cases, led to a toxic relationship between customers and employees. Business managers and owners, in a bid to get more clients and a consistent flow of revenue, sometimes empower bad customers at the expense of their employee’s sense of dignity. This makes employees feel demoralized and unappreciated, and then creates a tense work environment. A happy employee is better able to provide quality customer services than an unhappy one.

There are times you have to agree that the customer is wrong: when they are rude to your employees who have gone to great lengths to meet their needs; when nothing satisfies them; when a customer destroys your product; when they disregard your staff’s opinion and expertise and then get frustrated because your product did not to exactly what they thought it did.

The truth is that some customers are not worth doing business with, and keeping abusive and disrespectful customers can bring down the morale of your company. You don’t have to keep every customer and you don’t have to convince every single person to buy from you. Bad customers may end up ruining the reputation of your business with time.

The ugly truth is that there are some customers who will never be satisfied, no matter how far you compromise. You don’t want to use your energy, effort, time, money, and even patience on a bad customer.

This is not a call for business owners to ignore customers’ complaints and feedbacks, but entrepreneurs must also learn to ignore those who have ridiculous and unrealistic expectations – they could just be time wasters. As a business manager and/or owner, you must ensure that your customer is satisfied within a reasonable limit without demoralizing your employees and enabling overdemanding customers.

In situations where your employee might be experiencing a bad day, and he/she ends up mistreating a customer, the best solution is to support your employee with proper training and, if necessary, an official warning so you don’t encourage bad behavior among your employees.

Investing in your employees is the smartest business decision you can make. If you want your employees to be productive, you should ensure they feel happy. As a business owner or manager, you must take employee training seriously; it is an investment, not an expense. A happy employee is better equipped to serve your company.

There will always be a customer that is nasty, abusive, and disrespectful. No matter how much they contribute to your business, you should let them go, else, they will end up hurting your business.



Photo by Paul Efe from Pexels

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