A Customer Is Not Always Right But They Are Always Important

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23251-a-customer-is-the-most-important-visitor-on-our-premises-2_380x280_widthWe all know the age old argument …

“is the customer really always right?”

The truth of the matter is that … thankfully … the customer is not always right. Because it is impossible for the customer to always be right.

If the customer was always right (in the literary sense) then we would have cases were Doctors listen to their patients versus relying on their years of knowledge and experience. Cases where politicians would simply rule by popular vote …whatever the polls says the politician does. Situations where restaurants sell food at a loss simply because the customer feel their (the restaurant) prices are too high!

In all logical sense, the customer cannot always be right! And not just because of the 3 scenarios I shared above but because of the multiplicity of the word customer. A multiplicity that accommodates more than 1 customer, so If 2 customers that have contradicting views are always right, then what happens? I have no idea.

I think whoever came up with that saying might actually wanted to have said …. “the customer is always important.” Because the truth is that the customer is always important … even the bad customers. Because the bad customer can spread negativity even faster than the good customer can spread positivity. 

At the end of the day all customers being important versus right is an easier statement for employees to understand and enforce. Because it empowers them.

It allows employees respect customers without allowing customers disrespect the company values. It allows a flexibility of sorts that is absent from the phrase always right. You see when the customer is always right there is an absoluteness to that statement, but when the customer is always important that absoluteness is neutralized and flexibility is introduced.

A customer can be disrespectful but still be treated as important, a customer could be annoying but can still be treated as important, and 2 customers with different opinions can still be treated as important. There is a range to the phrase always important that does not exist in always right. I believe Gandhi summarized it best when he said:

A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so.
― Mahatma Gandhi

twitterWritten By Okechukwu Ofili of ofilispeaks.com
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Words by Okechukwu Ofili of ofilispeaks.com
Follow him on Twitter
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7 comments on “A Customer Is Not Always Right But They Are Always Important

  1. hmm…I was buying from one of the road side vegetable ladies the other day, and the daughter asked me to come out of the car to select what I want, that day I was so tired, I just wanted to pick some items quickly and go home. I just told her that I wasn’t coming out of the car…it seemed she thought I couldn’t get the items anywhere else. Her mother quickly gave her the items to give me, and I was on my way… I was two seconds away from moving to the next stall.
    Yup your customer is important…

    on the other hand, some customers in Nigeria, are quite abusive, in that situation you have to be firm or risk being taken for granted (story for another day)

    thanks for sharing
    Osayi latest post is Dem go talkMy Profile

  2. SpiritMan Speaks on said:

    Adjusting an old age adage…
    Ofili u rock jooh …
    From the acronym “the custumer is always important” I think both the customer and the service provider will be treated to a garnished tasty yummy balanced diet of RESPECT (we can disrepect eh)…
    And the above Gandhi quotation is superb… I kinda think Ofili contributed a phrase or two to that original quote(but they won’t tell us or agree globally)
    That said we all shud take a glass of “Respect” water every morning..
    Ofili da boss … Tuale !!!
    SpiritMan Speaks

  3. Fortune on said:

    This ‘customer is always right’ adage thing is turning Nigerians into characters that are difficult to understand. They literally want to put their fingers into business owners’ eyes. i agree that respect from both parties wud be helpful.

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