My Customers Are Always Right

About a year ago, I wrote an article titled The Customer is Always Right… Sometimes in which I discussed how to handle customers who don’t agree with you or with your opinions. I realized, however, that the article only discussed half the issue, in that I talked about furthering your business, but not about furthering yourself.

The owner of a small airline phrased this quite well:

The customer is always right. But if you put down my employees, then you’re not my customer.

That’s not to say, of course, that you won’t continue to serve that person. However, when someone who pays you for a product or service crosses a line you’ve drawn, they are no longer considered to be a customer, because you don’t care if you continue to get their business.

As an example, if a passenger on a flight puts down one of the stewards on the plane, then the airline in question may not consider this person a customer. That means that while the person can continue to fly with them, the airline will not consider them to be in the right and will back up the steward in question. If the customer decides to take their business elsewhere, the airline does not consider it a loss.

What the lines are is not really relevant, but that the lines exist cannot be debated. I discussed a few weeks ago what a business should do to earn money (Anything for a Buck), so that might define your lines. At the end of the day, you want clients and customers who help your business grow. Those that waste your time and resources are not valuable customers, and while you might continue to provide service to them, they’re not your customers.

If they’re not your customers, then they aren’t always right.

That being said, you should still treat them with respect (even if you don’t feel they deserve it). You should be careful to address their concerns politely. But you don’t have to agree with them, and you certainly shouldn’t put their opinions before those of the people who will make a difference to the bottom-line of your business.