We have heard this for years, so much in fact, that we started to believe it! Be honest, there’s been a time at least once in your life, that you have believed the customer is always right! I don’t know exactly where this originated from, but I don’t believe it has a solid place in business practice. We find ourselves using this statement as a crutch or scapegoat to avoid conflict. If I use the excuse that the customer is always right, I can divert this verbal attack. The problem with this is it’s not always safe for the customer to be “right”. For instance, if a Medical Surgeon was told to do a procedure in a manner that is incorrect or unsafe because the patient (customer) said it should be done that way, would that be OK? Absolutely not, in fact, it could cost the patient (customer) their life. This is very far fetched, but was given to show you that there is a point in business that you must stick to your guns, for the safety of your customer. Most employees will find and follow the path of least resistance when it comes to conflict with a customer. Well trained employees will learn to communicate, stay on topic and be solution driven. The best way to stop an action is to never let it start in the first place by being focused and factual, honest and mindful.
Teaching your employees the proper skills for listening is a major start, but setting absolute lines that customers may not cross is crucial. Ask yourself this question after the customer leaves, were they truly right, or did I just want them out of my hair? If you agree with the customer that they are right, then after they leave talk about how wrong they were, then you allowed the customer to cross the line. If the customers always right until he’s left the business, you were not true to yourself.