Business Growth, Customer Service, Numbers Coach TIPS, Sales

The Customer Is Always Right. . . Or Are They?

The phrase “The customer is always right” was drilled into me by my Marketing professor many decades ago. It was the common mantra espoused by many a sales and marketing guru. Customers can help businesses grow in directions they never thought possible—but they can also drive you in the wrong direction.

I recently read an article titled “The Customer Is Always Right. . . Is the Most Misunderstood Phrase in Business.” It talked about a business who had a demanding customer asking for changes to the functionality of their software product. The features being requested by the client were only loosely aligned with the service this company was providing. The company leadership was considering doing the upgrades mainly because the client was a big piece of their revenue. The customer was demanding, and employees were stressed out trying to meet the demands.

After accommodating the customer on a few occasions and seeing some employees leave due to the stress from this one demanding and rude customer, the owner of the business fired the customer. It did result in a sharp decline in revenue and caused additional terminations. However, company morale changed, and the work environment shifted where the team decided to focus on customers who fit a specific profile and most of all did not have a “jerk” mentality when it came to dealing with its vendors.

Ultimately, some years later the business returned to the level of revenue it had lost from the one customer and found itself more diversified in its customer base, more profitable, and more employee satisfaction. Don’t be afraid to say “no” to a customer. While the customer may always be right, that doesn’t mean every customer is right for you and your business.

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