Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy? (from the GSH archives)

Posted on March 31, 2008. Filed under: customer service | Tags: , , |

We had a customer service incident today.

I answered a phone call from someone who had not yet been into our salon and was very irritated that she had received her reminder email only to learn that we thought her appointment was for Saturday and she thought it was for today. I asked her if she had gotten the email confirmation that is sent when the appointment is first made and she said she got it but didn’t read it.

I offered her a time today and she was unable to take it. I told her I would have the stylist call her and see what could be done to get the time she preferred. When the stylist arrived, he/she (I have been asked not to give too much info so as to not hurt any feelings, so I have adjusted gender) called the client and left a voice-mail in which she/he made a point to remind the client of the conversation and how she must have asked for a Saturday appointment.

An hour later, I got this email from the client:

I am cancelling my appointment on Saturday, 10/6 @ 4:30.

I have a funeral all day Saturday, why would I make an appt. that day?????? I don’t appreciate (X’s) claiming (she/he) specifically remembers me telling (him/her) Saturday, because I did not. It’s pretty funny too, (she/he) started off by saying, “I talked to you a couple days ago”… nope, just yesterday. I think (he/she’s) a little off on (his/her) days. Ever heard ‘the customer is always right’? I’ll be giving someone else my business.


When I spoke to the stylist about this, there were raised voices and hurt feelings. I was not irritated about the scheduling error. Things happen. Life is like that. What irritated me was the way it was handled. Once the confusion occurs, it makes no sense to fight over who was right. The question isn’t who was right, the question is, can the client be accommodated? I think they were both more interested in being right than they were about getting her hair done.

I tried to explain to the stylist that this lesson needed to be learned not just to be a successful service provider, but to live a happy life.

It hardly ever matters who was right. Really. I promise.

As to the “customer is always right” philosophy, our regular clients know that we don’t necessarily subscribe. We aren’t here to be doormats, and while I wish this incident could have been handled differently, I am not going to try to woo this client into giving us another chance.

I did reply to her email with an apology for being unable to solve her problem, a list of four salons that might be able to help her today, and our best wishes.

Feel free to discuss similar incidents and other solutions!


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