Is The Customer Always Right?

In 1909 Harry Gordon Selfridge, the founder of Selfridge’s department store in London coined the phrase “The customer is always right”.

Customer is right

Is the customer always right?

Is this phrase still true today?

I don’t think so.

This statement was true at the time when customer service was horrendous.

These days even the worse type of customer service could be compare to the best type of customer service in those days.

We now live in age author Barry Schwartz calls “The Paradox of Choice”.

Consumers are now exposed to more choice in an hour than they were exposed to in 1909 when Mr. Selfridge made his comment.

This availability of choice has not come with the ability to choose rightly.

There are consumer rights advocates fuelling the belief that consumer needs protection from businesses.

While it is true that there are lots of unscrupulous business people engaged in unscrupulous business practices, the majority of businesses aim to serve their customers honestly.

They might not always get it right, but overall the majority of businesses understand that it is their customers who keep them in business therefore they need to be good to their customers.

However, not all customers return the favour.

Is the customer the king?

Is the customer the king?

Many people feel simply because they pay for a product or service, they are entitled to be treated with respective irrespective of how they behave.

Like every human society, there are good and bad people.

Polite and impolite people.

And people tend to behave in a certain manner irrespective of where they are.

There are good and bad customers.

There are individuals who go to hospital and are rude to doctors who are saving their lives.

On many occasions people have attacked the fire service.

You will wonder what type of people will attack the fire and rescue service.

These examples might seem extreme.

But there are people like those.

Do you think those types of people are going the change simply because they are in a retail store or restaurant?

As a business consultant, I have encountered clients I will rather not have any type of relationship with not as clients or as acquaintance.

So the idea that the customer is always right or that is customer is king seems an outdated concept.

As businesses, we need to aim to treat people as we want to be treated ourselves.

Customers who are nice and polite to you, you treat them with dignity and respect, and those who do not see the need to treat you with respect in return, you pass on to your competitors.  


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Small Business Growth & Marketing Consulting Agency London

Small Business Growth & Marketing Consulting Agency London