Raising The Bar: Is “The Customer ALWAYS Right”?

By Erika Zipfel Matscherz

Who hasn’t at one time or another had a job in retail or in the restaurant business?  I am sure most of us have.  And  how many times did your manager tell you, “the customer is always right.  No matter what happens, the customer is always right!”  Most of us have had this saying beaten into us during our years of working in these industries. And, most businesses and companies, if asked, would most likely claim they live by this rule to this day.

Well…some may beg to differ.   Maybe when life was a bit simpler and most people were honest and honorable, the customer was always right. For example, if a customer ended up purchasing a new shirt from your retail store and then brought it back stating they washed it once and it fell apart, you would apologize, ask them if they wanted to exchange it or gladly refund them their money. If you worked at a restaurant and always prided yourself on giving stellar service and attention to your tables, yet one of your customers talked to your manager after their meal and complained about your service, the manager would have comp’d their meal, apologized, and then possibly fired you.  Again, always living by the trusted saying that the customer is always right.

I would agree that perhaps the customer used to always be right.  However, in today’s world so many people are just looking out for themselves.  So many people are not honest, even though they were brought up that way.  So many people will lie if the outcome serves them best.  What happened to us?  What happened to the simple fact of  being able to trust what someone told you?  What happened to honesty and where did it go?  This is why many people don’t feel the customer is always right.  Unfortunately, there are too many people out there more than willing to lie to get what they want……..more than willing to lie to get something for free…….more than willing to lie to get someone in trouble just because they are having a bad day.   So then, how can we trust what our customer is telling us?

Although this is a growing problem in our society, I choose to believe in people.  I may get hurt sometimes and shocked at the outcome, but I cannot live my life in distrust. I choose to believe the best in everyone and hope that by me living a life of truth and honesty, it will (hopefully) rub off on some of those that aren’t so honorable. I choose to live by the motto, The Customer Is Always Right.