The Customer Is Sometimes Right (from the GSH archives)

Posted on March 30, 2008. Filed under: customer service | Tags: , , |

We have talked before (and I have taken some guff) about my belief that the customer is NOT always right. Customers are human.

They sometimes are wrong. I know. It seems crazy and counter to everything you have read about how to succeed in business. But it is the honest truth.  You cannot please everyone.  Some people cannot be pleased no matter how hard you try!

This sign is from a shop in Beijing, China.

beijing

Today I have found an article for you (read the excerpt below, then click over to read the rest) that backs up my belief.

The article shares stories from companies large and small who have realized that not every customer is right for their business.

surprise

The customer is always right?

When the customer isn’t right – for your business

One woman who frequently flew on Southwest, was constantly disappointed with every aspect of the company’s operation. In fact, she became known as the “Pen Pal” because after every flight she wrote in with a complaint.

She didn’t like the fact that the company didn’t assign seats; she didn’t like the absence of a first-class section; she didn’t like not having a meal in flight; she didn’t like Southwest’s boarding procedure; she didn’t like the flight attendants’ sporty uniforms and the casual atmosphere.

Her last letter, reciting a litany of complaints, momentarily stumped Southwest’s customer relations people. They bumped it up to Herb’s [Kelleher, CEO of Southwest] desk, with a note: ‘This one’s yours.’

In sixty seconds, Kelleher wrote back and said, ‘Dear Mrs. Crabapple, We will miss you. Love, Herb.’”

The phrase “The customer is always right” was originally coined by Harry Gordon Selfridge, the founder of Selfridge’s department store in London in 1909, and is typically used by businesses to:

1. Convince customers that they will get good service at this company
2. Convince employees to give customers good service

Fortunately more and more businesses are abandoning this maxim – ironically because it leads to bad customer service.

Read the rest here.

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