- Elon Musk, Investor & Entrepreneur
It is near impossible to work in hospitality or retail (or any industry for that matter) and not hear “the customer is always right” at least once. It is a phrase that customers use to their advantage all to often when in fact they are just not.
Let’s face it: We love being told that we are right and it bothers us when our assumptions are challenged. However, it is important to let your employees know that if a client responds with “the customer is always right”, they have the power to tell them otherwise (in a professional manner).
Nine and a half times out of ten, your employee will know leaps and bounds more about the industry and how your business operates than the customer. What exactly is the customer claiming to know? Have they been in your shoes? Have they had this role? Not likely. No one can provide the answer better than the people who wear the uniform. To say the customer is always right in this sense is just simply not true.
Your employees feelings matter too
Your employee’s feelings and well-being matter. If you continue to side with the customer over your employee, it indicates that you do not have the back of your staff. Employees who feel unsupported by their employer will look for a more supportive environment. Situations like this are one of the top 10 reasons why employees quit. When it comes to siding with your employee or customer, take the time to listen to both sides of the story and handle the situation with clear judgement.
Blanket rules never work
Blanket rules (rules and policies that apply to everyone no matter who they are or what they do) don’t work. Why? It circles back to expertise. Customers don’t know all the rules and policies and when they are on your premise under your roof, you have the power to accept their business or not. In the case of the latter, it’s their problem and not yours. Always remain polite and professional. No one enjoys inconveniencing people, but we must remind them that our decision is final.
You cannot please everyone
Something we all need to come to terms with is that we can’t please everyone! Bending over backwards to ensure every single person stays happy all the time is not sustainable. Let your employees know that although their mission is to go above and beyond, it is never enough for some people. Don’t let someone’s displeasure discourage you or your employees.
You don’t need every customer
One of the most common assumptions that rookie business owners make, is that everyone is suited to be their customer. Just a friendly reminder that this is not the case and it’s super important to find who your ideal customer is. If a customer is causing a scene and threatening not to come back, do you really want to be serving them again in the future? Chances are they are rude to your employees and interrupt the customers experience of those around them and they are better off gone.
Instead, take some time to really research your ideal customer profile and build a loyal community of customers that are right for your brand.
Dissatisfaction leads to innovation
The customer is not always right nor will they always be happy, so use their dissatisfaction as a starting point to improve. If a customer has raised a particular issue or concern, it would be best to dig a little deeper into what has made them unsatisfied. Take notes and figure out a way to improve your service for next time! It’s not about winning that customer back (although this may happen), it’s about progressing your business forward.
Time is costly
Trying to please an unruly customer can be a waste of precious time. If you have already proposed a solution or made the final say and a customer is still being difficult, your time is better spent elsewhere. Remind your employees that there is no need to waste time on those who want to engage in conflict with someone who is just doing their job.
Some people will never be satisfied
Some customers will never be satisfied no matter how hard you try. You can’t control how they feel or how they act. Once you realise this, you’ll find better uses of your time than trying to satisfy an unruly customer, like serving those who genuinely love your business!
The customer is not always right and there are at least eight reasons to prove it. Spend your time serving customers who love your business rather than trying to win over the ones who will always find something to complain about! Stand firm, keep your ground and remember which one of you is being paid to wear the uniform.
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Thought leaders & celebrities share their tactics for success on the Lisnic podcast by Lisa Teh & Nick Bell