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The customer is always right.” was coined and made famous by retailers including Selfridges and Marshall Field’s (now Macy’s) around the turn of the 20th century. It’s a phrase that most of our parents and grandparents had ingrained into their brains as children, and yet it somehow appears to have been lost in translation among the generations – and businesses – born within the last 20 to 30 years.


We are all human and we all make mistakes – businesses and customers alike, but if you want to strengthen the relationships you have with your customers and keep them loyal, then knowing exactly who is right and who is wrong doesn’t matter in most situations. The important thing to focus on is that the customer always deserves to be treated right and with a professional respect and courtesy.


As a business, you must decide where that line is going to be drawn, and then be consistent. When a customer crosses the “unacceptable behavior” line, your concern should not be for the customer so much as for your employee and your business. The Customer Service Point article explains that “when a customer actually does cross the line, you can tell them that you no longer want their business. And at that point, they cease to have the right to be right.


“The customer is always right. But not all customers need to stay customers.”


Do you think the saying, “The customer is always right” is still important for businesses today? Why? Why not?


Source: Excerpted from and The Customer Service Point, February 2012.



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Tags: CSI, customer, loyalty, retention


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