Customer service or why the customer isn’t always right

April 2, 2014 at 11:16 pm 1 comment

Since as long as I can remember, people have always said “the customer is always right”. In theory, this meant that vendors and stores should do whatever it takes to make their customers happy. In reality, I believe this leads to abuses from customers who think they can get away with anything by simply repeating this phrase. There may not be anything wrong with a product or service, but since the customer knows he’s “always right”, he knows he can get away with asking for a refund.

Instead, I believe the correct phrase should be “the customer is king”. This means the customer should get the best service possible and an apology when something goes wrong. But this also means that the customer may not get an instant refund or even a solution that makes them happy.

A lot of companies strive to be perfect. While this is definitely a good goal to have, it’s sometimes better to admit to a mistake and make it right instead of trying to insist that everything is perfect. Everyone (and every company) makes mistakes, so it’s much better to apologize and handle the customer’s complaint. And working to solve a customer’s complaint could actually create a more loyal customer.

Some companies offer “no questions asked” refunds, but this doesn’t really solve anything. Isn’t it better to ask why the customer isn’t happy? After all, the customer may have found a flaw in the product that needs to be corrected. How does it help a company improve the product if a refund is given “no questions asked”? And in some cases, the customer may want to talk their issue instead of just getting a form-letter reply of “here’s your money”. Besides, if a customer wanted their money, they wouldn’t have purchased the product in the first place.

And whatever you do, always make sure to reply to your customers. Nothing makes a customer angrier than when he complains and his complaint is ignored. Even a simple “Let me look into that” tells the customer that you’ve received his complaint and you’re working to resolve it… just make sure you actually do resolve it.
Remember the old saying, “Ignore your customers and they’ll go away.” I don’t think there’s any business that can survive without customers.

Entry filed under: Vendor Advice. Tags: , , , , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Staffan Melin  |  April 3, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    Good post. I can’t stress the importance of the last point – always reply!


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