I have always thought the statement “The customer is always right” was a rather sweeping presumption that was at best questionable and at worst downright wrong.
From a purchasing perspective alone it doesn’t always make sense. As a customer myself, there have been times when my purchasing decisions have been poor: when ‘buyer’s remorse’ has not been the result of hard selling on the part of the salesperson, but rather of my own prejudice, inflexibility, and unwillingness to be guided. In fact many of the purchases where I have been most satisfied have been those where I have been given advice and guidance. The adage that the customer is always right thus can be a Machiavellian principle that would make it legitimate to sell concrete lifebelts if that is what the customer requested.
But the issue runs deeper than just purchasing; it seems to me to be a statement that gives the customer superior rights and powers in what should rightfully be a mutually-beneficial relationship between equals. Thus, when I read Hal Rosenbluth’s “The Customer Comes Second” recently, I was delighted to find that my instincts were sound. In fact, ever, since reading it, I have wanted to draw others’ attention to this very important and all-too-often overlooked fact. However, the words for a blog have simply eluded me. So I am delighted to have been saved that labour, for here is one that says everything that I wanted to, and more! I cannot recommend it highly enough, and invite you to read it and share your comments, and, if you are of the same mind, to spread the word!
After all, how can you ever expect to create customer delight, if your people management makes your people feel unimportant and inferior.