For decades, the mentality of "the customer is always right" has been a staple among business owners and entrepreneurs. Employees have been informed that they should look beyond unreasonable customer demands and do their best to appease the customer.
Employers have even expected good workers to "take one for the team" when an upset customer is berating them.
However, there's a deep, dark secret creeping into the shadows of this common entrepreneurial misconception. The truth is, the customer isn't always right. And when you're trying to run your business properly, that's an important point to keep in mind.
Why It's Time to Let Go of the Age-Old Premise
Approaching the customer experience with the mentality of the customer always being right has an adverse impact in many areas:
- It hurts the morale of employees
- It isn't good for overall customer service
- It complicates business practices
As an experienced business person, it should be obvious to you that your customers aren't always right. In fact, they just think they are.
Here, we'll give you five solid reasons why this flawed mentality doesn't allow you to properly run your business.
1. Customers Are Not Business Experts
While it's true that many customers are highly aggressive when presenting opinions, the majority of the time they don't understand how their ideas impact the big picture of business operations. If you give credence to a customer having absolute power over the way you operate without considering their unique situation or poor attitude, you'll be sending good business away.
In situations that you are confident in the actions of your employee and you are sure a customer is wrong on an issue, it's poor form to take the side of the customer over your worker. Rather, be reasonable and just.
Understand that one of the biggest parts of your job as a business owner is to be there for your employees and your customers. Telling a customer that he is right on an issue when you're positive that he's not doesn't do anyone any favors.
Avoid caving to a customer every time there's a complaint. Keep in mind that you are the expert, not your customer.
2. A Lot of Customers Resist Change
There's a large percentage of the population that don't necessarily fit into the progressive thinking category. They'd rather keep the status quo than explore improvement opportunities.
These types of consumers aren't interested in new ideas or creations. They're the type that refuse to adapt until they're forced to. These can be difficult customers to contend with if you're in the business of innovation. It's important to not let them keep your business stagnant just because they're afraid of change.
As you well know, a stagnant business is a dead business.
3. Customers That Are Unreasonable Harm Business
Don't fall into the trap of thinking that more clients or customers will automatically equal a successful business. While there may be some justification for this idea, it's definitely not a truth that you can uphold.
Of course, you don't want to start firing customers just because they bring up a few negative issues. But when it is appropriate to let a customer go is when they're on the verge of taking up too much of your business's energy and resources.
You and your business are only able to expend a given amount of energy. Avoid using too much of it on customers who haven't earned it. Put the majority of your time and effort into customers that know how to professionally work with you when times get tough.
4. Don't Give an Advantage to Bad Customers
In your non-professional life, do you reward people who exhibit rude behavior? A customer who's abusive to you or your staff needs to understand that they won't be rewarded for acting inappropriately.
Perhaps it's them that need an adjustment to their mindset.
In business, it makes a lot more sense that reasonable, nice customers are treated with respect and care. Start going the extra mile for customers that bring a positive impact on your business instead of the ones that bring constant problems.
5. Don't End up With Resentful, Unhappy Workers
Assuming your customer is always right not only encourages customers to be rude, but it hurts the morale of your employees. You know, the ones that run all the details of your business.
Choosing the side of an impossible customer over an employee that you work with every day will have very negative long-term effects. You may even lose some of your best workers.
The Customer Isn't Always Right
Of course your customers aren't always right. Then again, they're not always wrong either. Listen to your customers. Weigh the facts of each situation fairly. This simple practice is a huge part of running your business properly.