Believing 'The Customer Is Always Right' Is Bad For Business

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Business owners need to stop bending to the customer's every whim because that will only reinforce bad behaviour and can create a poisonous culture of agreement within their company. Here's what to do instead.

Customers can be difficult to deal with, especially when you're in the services business; unreasonable requests and unrealistic deadlines are common. Justin Gray, CEO of digital marketing services company LeadMD, knows this all too well.

Over at Entrepreneur, Gray believes that by catering to a customer's unreasonable demands, it will only encourage them to try and get away with more and eventually the business relationship will become unsalvageable.

This urge to bend over backwards for clients is indicative of a company that is used to saying "yes" internally as well, he said, and that can backfire. "Organisations with a culture of agreement are fundamentally set up for failure since ideas will become homogenised and critical thinking will fall by the wayside," Gray said.

He said good customers secretly want to be challenged by people they trust and you need to push them out of their comfort zone. Those are the customers you want to keep:

"Here's a hard lesson for younger entrepreneurs but one that will give you incredible peace of mind if you stay true to it: not every customer or client will want to work with you. Once you've come to terms with this, you will be liberated. You won’t have to be the one backtracking, doing 360s and looking desperate. The business you want will start coming to you. The customer isn’t always right, but the right customer is always worth it."

[Entrepreneur]


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Comments

    "...catering to a customer's unreasonable demands..."One customer's 'unreasonable demands' are another's consumer rights. Who gets to make the decision?
    He said good customers secretly want to be challenged by people they trust and you need to push them out of their comfort zone.I'm sorry, but if I go to a retailer or service provider with a problem, I'm not going there to be pushed out of my comfort zone. I want the problem fixed with the least amount of hassle.

    Yes, there are customers/clients with unreasonable demands. There will always be folks who think the world should jump to their every whim.

    Way back when I had to deal with clients who made unreasonable demands, I would try my best to fix the problem after explaining my side of their beef, then (after it was fixed) make sure I never took them on as a client again (It's wonderful how upping their next job quote by a factor of 2 or 3 made them go somewhere else).

      One customer's 'unreasonable demands' are another's consumer rights. Who gets to make the decision?

      I'm going to have to back the author here. If a customer is unreasonable and gets away with it, you have set a precedent where they will continue to get away with it.

      I'm sorry, but if I go to a retailer or service provider with a problem, I'm not going there to be pushed out of my comfort zone.

      Again, I'm going to back the author here. The author is not talking about complaints - but rather opinion. A good supplier will offer advice aimed at enhancing the outcome of the customer's request (e.g outfit or flyer design). While this can create tension - it delivers a better outcome.

      >>One customer's 'unreasonable demands' are another's consumer rights. Who gets to make the decision?

      Your government determines your consumer rights.
      Not you.

    Can't remember the last time I saw a business that used the "customer is always right" mentality.

    work in retail for any stretch of time and you realise pretty quickly that 'the customer is always right' is a load of bullshit and not good for business.

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