Who’s always right? Customers vs. Businesses
Customers today still believe the old adage that the customer is always right. The debate between customers and business owners on who is really right can even be traced back to where this business principle came from. The phrase was first used by the Chicago department store Marshall Field’s (now Macy’s) but is more commonly attributed to Harry Gordon Selfridge who founded London’s Selfridges department store. The idea of the principle was to treat customers as if they were right even if they weren’t. This has become the basis for many customer service programs across the world. The adage was a method used to teach employees to go out of their way to make the customer happy. It did not literally mean the customer is always right. As a restaurant manager I have been coached to follow this basic business principle. However, I have found that the customer is not always right, but they are still always the customer. A business’s success can be directly related to their monetary gain and dissatisfied customers will take their money elsewhere. Today businesses have so many competitors and can easily lose customers if they go away unhappy. That one unhappy customer through word of mouth advertising may go tell 10 of their friends about the negative situation, which is the worst kind of advertising a business needs. Each day as a manager we strive to turn those negative situations into positive one’s by making the customer think they are right. The following interaction took place this summer while I was standing at a guests table with a replacement steak in my hand. This is a prime example how we make the customers experience the best possible, even if they are not right.
“I didn’t want the steak anymore, just dessert!” said Linda. “Linda take the steak home and eat it later or better yet give it to the homeless man we saw on the side of the road,” said friend 1 of 6. “I really don’t want it, take it back to the kitchen,...
Cited: Sirkin, Harold L. “How Not to Vex Your Best Customers.” Bloomberg Businessweek: Management. Bloomberg. 31 Oct. 2011. Web. 7 Oct. 2012.
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