It's the Hatchwise Black Friday Sale! Save 50% off of any Logo Design, Graphic Design or Naming Contest PLUS get a free Email Blast Upgrade when you launch a contest today! Get Deal

FREE: Get the #1 book on the fundamentals of proper logo design and company branding, written by George Ryan, CEO of Hatchwise

Home / Resources / Business

The Reasons Why “The Customer Is Always Right” Is Wrong

We’ve all heard it: “The customer is always right.” But, what if I told you that’s not true? To be frank, sometimes the customer is flat out wrong. If you’ve ever worked in a customer service job then you know this to be true. You’ve probably wanted to scream it from the rooftops!

The seemingly haunting phrase was started in London in the early 20th century. Harry Gordon Selfridge was the founder of a local department store called Selfridge’s. Nowadays, the phrase is used to give customers a sense of security or a promise that they can always expect good service.
It’s time to rethink this idea. The “customer is always right” mentality is not just wrong – it’s toxic.

Your jaw may be hanging open at the mere idea of not succumbing to a customer’s every demand.

Newsflash: You don’t have to worship the ground they walk on! There’s a delicate balance between being accommodating and being taken advantage of.

Here’s why you should rethink what you’ve ever been taught about customers being right.

It Plummets Employee Morale

Imagine doing your job day after day and doing it well, only to be told you’re wrong. Of course, customers should still be treated with kindness and respect but sometimes they’re wrong and they should know it.

By ditching the idea that the customer is always right, it helps employees feel that they have the backing and support of their employer. This sense of security boosts morale and makes employees proud of their work. Happier employees translate to better customer experiences.

Validating employee’s thoughts and feelings acts as a trickle-down effect for the entire lifecycle of the company.
Sacrificing the relationship with one hateful customer is usually better in the long run. By keeping employees happy, you ultimately create more happy customers. They say one bad apple spoils the bunch and the same is true for rude customers.

It Tampers With Customer Service

Employees are belittled, bullied and then forced to give in and treat rude customers like royalty.
Who would want to smile and greet the next guest like nothing happened?

Employees are humans too. No matter how much of a professional attitude we maintain, we all have emotions when it comes right down to it. Even if we don’t take a person’s bad attitude personally, it’s unreasonable to think that people are immune to negativity.

Employees who are happy at work spread their happiness to the people they serve. They’re more motivated and more likely to strive to provide the best service they can.

Employees who are happy will often do more than what is expected of them. Who wouldn’t want to do anything within their power to create this sort of workplace?

Rude Customers Are Given An Advantage

Think back to your school days. Remember the playground bully who always got what they wanted? Their bad attitude and brute force enabled them to topple over everyone’s emotions to get what they want. Rude and abrasive customers are no different. The idea that the customer is always right only reinforces this kind of negative behavior. It also unintentionally belittles employees who are forced to give in to the abusive nature of these customers.
Think about it. Do you really even want rude people to frequent your establishment? There’s plenty of kind people in the world to keep your business afloat. Negative attitudes have a way of spreading like wildfire.

Guard the emotional well-being of your company and stop inviting these negative Nancys back for more.

Customers Are Sometimes Wrong. It’s That Simple.

Nobody is right 100% of the time. Sometimes customers are wrong and there’s nothing more to it. There’s nothing wrong with being wrong sometimes. It’s a fact of life that we all accept and move on from. Most people learned this lesson from a very early age. Somehow there are so
many adults who don’t remember this elementary life lesson.

Companies have policies and procedures in place to keep their business running smoothly. Why should you stray from those safeguards when they’re clearly in place for a reason? These guidelines are there to protect the company, the employees and even the customers.

If you make an exception for one customer then where do you draw the line? You can’t keep making exceptions that go against your company’s policies. Those policies are the backbone of success. Chipping away at their integrity will ultimately lead to disaster.

Using couth and tact to explain to a customer why they’re wrong can actually build better customer relationships. Sure, there are some customers that will be unreasonable no matter what you say. But, there’s plenty of people who will appreciate the opportunity to be educated.