Why IS the customer always right?
The fact is, they aren't.
I thought a lot about this while I was working in the sushi restaurant yesterday. I watched the interactions between the waittress and the customer. There are lots of times when the customer assumes the Asian waittresses don't understand English well enough to do things correctly (I know this because they flag me over and say, "I don't think my waittress understood what I wanted..." and proceed to tell me, even though the waittress is either fixing their problem as they speak or explains to me later why she couldn't do what they had asked).
Though the customer isn't always right, however, it's for the sake of the business that they often treat them like they are. Customers will give more money if they are satisfied, and not only that, they'll be sure to tell everyone they know if they were not satisfied, which will affect your business negatively.
Of course, there are times when the customer is right and you don't know because you forgot something or weren't paying attention. For instance, my friend actually got in an argument with a customer while he was an employee at In N Out. She said she wanted a cup for water and he said he gave her one. She said he didn't and he insisted he had until the argument became ridiculous. That is just bad business and should not happen.
However, you don't want to perpetuate bad habits and manners of customers, no matter how much business they give you. Also, you certainly don't want to feel forced into doing something unethical for the sake of the customer, such as taking money out of the register that they insist is truly theirs. Blindly following what a customer says can actually get either or both you and the customer in trouble.
I suppose it depends on the business, as well; in restaurants, people are usually understand that it's not a career of dignity, and monetary success depends upon giving the customer what they want. This goes for hotels too, for which I've also worked. There are other positions, however, that allow more dignity for the employee, such as being a writer; you don't have to cater to what other people want, although that is what some people do after all.
Also, a business will post memos and notes for employees creating clear lines of right and wrong, no matter what a customer says. It's good to set these boundaries to give employees a good idea of what they are there to do. An employee might feel pressured to do what's financially best for a company when it might actually do more harm than good.
Sometimes it's more worth it to give up a business relationship in which you are getting crapped on; there are other customers out there, after all, with more respect for others and more sense, too. It's up to you to choose which line of work to involve yourself in; if it's not right for you and you need to speak up for your rights as an employee and a human, then maybe you should find another job before you spit in that burger.
- Quality Management
- Top 5 reasons why "The customer is Always Right" is wrong
- Not Always Right | Funny & Stupid Customer Quotes
- EULA Wars: The Customer Is Always Right to Lodge a Protest - Freakonomics - Opinion - New York Tim
Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt, authors of Freakonomics, keep the conversation going from their best-selling book that explores the hidden side of everything.
Because Mocha Sounds Sooo Much Like Frappuccino Coffee Shop | Indiana, USA
The following is an excerpt from the page included in the Links section, "Not Always Right."
Customer: "Hi, I'd like two large strawberries and cream Frappuccinos."
Me: "Alright, anything else with that?"
Customer: "No, that's all."
(I make her drinks and hand them out.)
Customer: "These are cold..."
Me: "You ordered two large strawberries and cream Frappuccinos."
Customer: "Oh! You know what? I actually meant I wanted two large mochas. The hot drinks!"