Many companies have embraced the old mantra of ‘the customer is always right’ as their focus for customer service. While it looks good on the surface, the broad scope of this statement leaves them wanting for more in terms of how to execute it properly and effectively.
By listening to their customers demands, some companies try to be a one-stop shop. It is very difficult, if not completely impossible, for any one company to provide everything to everybody. Sam Walton, an entrepreneur and the founder of Walmart sums up the notion of customer service well:
The goal as a company is to have customer service that is not just the best, but legendary – Sam Walton
That philosophy helped lead Walmart to great expansion and success in the retail marketplace. Since his death in 1992, though, the company has continued to expand their offerings to try and be a one-stop shop. How often have you experienced legendary customer service at Walmart recently? The answer to that question may provide an answer to the effectiveness of losing focus from what you do best.
Other companies try to implement the notion of the customer always being right through pricing and price matching. While providing a quality good or service at the best possible price is a great and noble goal, sacrificing customer service for the sake of pricing will lead you down a path of regret. As Lauren Freedman, president of The E-tailing Group wisely says,
Always keep in mind the old retail adage: Customers remember the service a lot longer than they remember the price. – Lauren Freedman
In the end, it is always customer service that prevails.
While working hard to please the foundation of your business, the customer, do not focus on the customer always being right, because they are not. Like us, customers are human and will make mistakes. Rather than focusing on right or wrong, our focus is better served by taking a positive approach to the current dilemma that the customer is facing. Resolving their issue in a positive and personal way will go a long way towards the success of your business. In the wise words of Kevin Stirtz,
Every contact we have with a customer influences whether or not they’ll come back. We have to be great every time or we’ll lose them – Kevin Stirtz
Right or wrong, more or less, up or down: It is all insignificant. A positive approach with a personal touch (and some genuine empathy, of course!) in how we serve our customers with every single interaction is what it is all about. If you make sure that you are providing legendary customer service in all aspects of your business, it really does not matter who is right and who is wrong. Customer service always wins.