#ThursdayThought – The Customer Is (Not) Always Right

I had a doctor years ago who (without violating HIPAA) took a few minutes to vent and talk about a patient who wouldn’t follow his medical advice and despite what test results showed, refused to comply and had continued health issues.

Then my doctor told me the patient was blaming the doctor for his worsening health.

All because the patient wasn’t willing to do their part.

Think about the customer who wants a full refund due to gross misuse of a product or service, through absolutely no fault of the company or its employees whatsoever.

Customers, clients and patients are not always right, despite the old cliche “The Customer is Always Right”

Empirical evidence, as well as well sourced experts, say otherwise. Just look at these articles from Forbes, Entrepreneur, Inc. and noted business experts like Simon Sinek and Shep Hyken.

When the customer is right at all costs, everybody loses. Employees get frustrated, customers exhaust profitable company resources, and culture becomes toxic as leadership insists that the customer is always right, because sales is the ultimate pursuit at all costs.

This short sighted and outdated notion that the customer is always right leads to employee disengagement, increased healthcare costs, customer entitlement which leads to abuse and ultimately a negative return on profits that need to be made up elsewhere (and thus leading to more pressure in a toxic “customer first” culture.)

Employees who don’t get a say and get exasperated from customers (“who are always right in spite of what the front line employee knows”) soon get “managed out” unless they’re able to leave before that occurs. Either ways it’s a tragic misuse of the real people who make or break any business – the employees.

So why do many companies fail in this knowledge while others – such as The Home Depot and REI – know that their employee culture first and have the financial success to prove this model?

Because, as Simon Sinek indicates, those companies focus on results over process. If the metrics and bonuses were tied to the process, the transformation would be remarkably positive across all measures.

While we want every customer, we don’t need every customer. Your culture and leadership might just be telling your employees you both don’t want them and need them.

Leaders in organizations need to get this right, to get their employees right. Then you’ll have the right customer – the one who is truly right – in fact and fit.

(Image by Hannes Edinger from Pixabay)

About Paul LaRue

My goal - To encourage you to lead & influence others with positive impact.

Posted on March.10.2021, in #ThursdayThought, Leadership. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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