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The Customer Is Always Right

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Published: 23rd March, 2015 Last Edited: 11th May, 2017

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

The authenticity and the honesty on the phrase have become the greatest challenges for many organizations. The phrase has only become a challenge to fulfill the customer’s’ expectation since some may give an unrealistic expectation for satisfaction. Despite the facts that corporates are interested in serving and meeting the demands of the customers, some customers have proven stubborn and malicious for the growth and development of the corporation. The growing dishonesty culture in some customers has subjected much organization to inevitable losses. In some instances, customers have developed unrealistic expectations that they forced to be accomplished by the organizations. Very few claims raised from the customers have been established and verified by the organization but most claims are mere allegations. In regards to this, it becomes complicated to understand and accepts all the claims raised by the customers. Dishonest customers are more difficult to assist since they merely bring losses to the organizations. However, building everlasting reputation widely relies on the principles and regulations of the corporations. In the case of any integrity matters escalating from the customers, then the corporation should comprehensively investigate the matter and publish the report. Such reports should remain accessible to the public and private institutions to clear the air.

the customer is always rightSeveral retail concern used this as a slogan from the early 20th century onward. In the USA it is particularly associated with Marshall Field's department store, Chicago (established in the late 19th century).

In the U.S. marketplace we continue to move toward a service-sector base and away from manufacturing. Because of this change, one would think it would be even more important that our first priority would be to make the customer happy. This isn’t a new idea. Harry G. Selfridge of the department store Selfridges in London, England, coined the phrase, “The customer is always right” in the early 1900s. Most companies believe and promote this thinking; keeping employees focused on the fact that unsatisfied customers do not come back and may even discourage others from becoming customers.

The store is an icon of the city, although it is set to lose its name in 2006 when, following a takeover, it becomes renamed as Macy's. In the UK, Harry Gordon Selfridge (1857-1947) the founder of London's Selfridges store (opened in 1909), is credited with championing its use.
Not everyone sees it this way. Although it seems unlikely, there are successful companies that do not put the customer first. I worked for a company where the CEO did not believe that the customer was always right. After a little research, I found that he was not the odd man out. Other companies don’t always put the customer first and are proud of it. Examples include Herb Kelleher, past CEO of Southwest Airlines; and Hal Rosenbluth, CEO of Rosenbluth International, a corporate travel agency; and ServiceGruppen, a Danish IT company.

The Wisconsin born Selfridge worked for Field from 1879 to 1901. Both men were dynamic and creative businessmen and it's highly likely that one of them coined the phrase, although we don't know which.

Of course, these entrepreneurs didn't intend to be taken literally.

I suppose when you begin a business, it’s easy to stay on top of what customers want and what they’re getting. Creating a customer service policy and adhering to it, is so important. It doesn’t have to be elaborate but something as simple as ‘the customer is always right’ can lay the necessary groundwork. If you commit to providing customer service excellence, your customers will sense it and will put you on top of your industry. Your employee’s are your front-line workers and provide your customer service. They should be rewarded when they practice it consistently. I believe it is quite effective if you meet with your employee’s on a regular basis and keep them apprised of your goals and of your customers’ needs. I truly believe that if you as a service provider, can do all that you can to make a customer happy, then you will achieve your goal of customer satisfaction. Lesson 1 of this course, Personality and Communication, set the ground rule in effectively dealing with customers. If we make it our goal to ensure our customers are happy, right from the very first meeting, then we will have a successful business.

What they were attempting to do was to make the customer feel special by inculcating into their staff the disposition to behave as if the customer was right, even when they weren't.

The trading policy and the phrase were well-known by the early 20th century.

LL Bean, outfitter extraordinaire, has had a standing policy that if a product you buy ever fails they will replace it-free. ( ). That is the best “the customer is always right” policy you could ever have. Those waders that sat in the barn for 40 years, accumulating mouse nests, mildew, and who knows what else, ripped when you tried to put them on. Return them no questions asked and you will get a suitable replacement.

From the Kansas City Star, January 1911 we have a piece about a local country store that was modelled on Field's/Selfridges:

[George E.] "Scott has done in the country what Marshall Field did in Chicago, Wannamaker did in New York and Selfridge in London. In his store he follows the Field rule and assumes that the customer is always right.

Customer satisfaction is essential in terms of business. It leads your business to a great success and it gives you repeated sales. When a customer is dissatisfied or just uninterested, they are most likely going to just walk away. Even when you think you have skillfully locked in someone purchasing decision. The customer has the considerable right in purchasing decisions. They can always give negative recommendations to others who are evaluating you. Employees need customer attention. It is normal for workers to be more worried about their personal concerns and for managers to be drawn into internal issues. It takes insistent attention to create a culture which highlights customer satisfaction in every decision that has been made. Regardless of all this, customers still are not your complete business. You have your own goals, employees, suppliers and investors. Your challenge is to find an appropriate balance between all the plentiful needs and desires. For example when you are a start-up company with few employees and few customers, it is not hard to stay on top of what customers need and what they are receiving. But as you add more customers and employees, you escalate the link to the customer service chain. That increases the potential for growth and the likeliness for poor service along the way. That is why creating a customer service rule and following to it is so imperative. Here are a few steps that you can take to safeguard that your clients...


Whether the phrase was coined by Field or Selfridge it is fair to call it American. What we can't do is credit them with the idea behind it. In 1908 César Ritz (1850-1918), the celebrated French hotelier is credited with saying 'Le client n'a jamais tort' - 'The customer is never wrong'.

Undoubtedly a customer is right all the time except when he or she is genuinely not right. Customers are like blood to a business and the absence of a proper clientele is deleterious to the business making it unable to survive in this competition. It is this premise that leads to the saying that the customer is always right. Unluckily the online business industry has abjured this concept totally. Looking at the phrase closely, we can see that when it’s not convenient for the business, or when the consumer asks for somewhat negative, which could have an effect on the company’s income streams or business standing, the customer can be termed as wrong. However, they should be treated fairly, no matter if they are right or wrong, because if a business loses one customer, it means many potential customers that could be referred by him will also be lost.

That's not the phrase that people now remember, but it can hardly be said to be any different in meaning to 'the customer is always right'.

(Strategy imply how a company do)

Definition for positioning:

Positioning is the marketing strategies that focus on the brand occupy a different "position" which is the products' image in the consumers mind. In positioning, firms targeting the specific marketing segment, relationship to the competitors, and the relationship between the law firms.

The phrase customer always right is strongly used in firms and organizations to urge the servicemen and women to provide proper goods and services to customers. For the purpose of winning the customers’ loyalty and attitudes, the service provider is obliged to take keen note on the customers’ complaints and promptly act on them. The customer always right slogan only applies when the customers are honest and up for noble duties. The slogan is used as guiding principles for the manufacturing companies to improve and adjust on their service delivery. Positive customers’ remarks indicate good services delivery and market acceptance of goods and services. However, negative comments from the customers would compromise the reputation of the firms thus leading to low market control. This paper shall discuss the relevance of the phrase “customer always right” in terms of the growth and expansion of the corporation.

Firms use this strategy to create a good image through advertising, and emphasizing the differentiate features of their brand. It is very hard to change the position of a brand without influence its credibility once a brand is positioned.
The first rule of going through the drive-thru is to speak into that little machine that says, “Place order here.” While placing an order don’t be fiddling around. Also speak up, if you don’t know what you want to eat just ask for more time. After placing your order listen when I read it back to you so it’s not wrong. After all, it’s not my fault you changed your mind a million times and your dog wouldn’t stop barking. In addition to me saying your order back, actually pay attention. When you simply agree and pull around and then get mad when it’s wrong, that’s when the customer isn’t always right! So be nice to the person in drive-thru.

Eleven Strategy in Relationship Marketing

There are 11 new strategy for Relationship Marketing which call 11 C's . The strategy of 11 C's are to improve marketing activities. The 11 C's are (1) customer, (2) categories, (3) capabilities, (4) cost, profitability & value, (5) control of the contact to cash processes, (6) collaboration & integration, (7) customization, (8) communications, interaction & positioning, (9) customer measurements, (10) customer care, and the last one is (11) chain of relationships.

Fast food chains, maybe where the customer is the toughest, believe the customer is always right. “Special orders don’t upset us.” This was the mantra for one, and now they all offer customers the opportunity to deviate from the posted menu. (By the way, if you Google this saying, you will get more than 2.5 million hits, many from other companies that have adopted this mantra.) Why? Because the customer is always right, and she pays the bills and provides the profit.

The first Relationship Marketing strategy is customer. This strategy is company need to target correct customer. The company should differentiate which customer is loyal, average, and non loyal to the company to make sure they will gets appropriate values.

The value of the service provider, is robbed of the confidence they need to perform in their role in achieving the outcome the customer desires. I have heard of a different approach of which I agree, ‘the customer is not always correct, but they always have the right to be wrong with dignity’. Having the right to be wrong with dignity creates an environment where customers can freely communicate their ideas and desires while allowing the service provider the chance to respect them and help them achieve the result they are looking for. A customer can still express opinions, disappointment or frustrations and the employee can respond with courtesy while still respecting the reality of the situation. I believe that not only will the customers be treated with courtesy and respect, it will enable us to partner with them to create the outcome they are looking for. This we learned in lesson 3, the customer value that suggests we begin to find out what each customer wants and needs and then work towards fulfilling those needs and then delivering the product or service in a manner that meets, and hopefully exceeds, the customer’s initial expectations. The more I think of the comment about the unsatisfied customer returning his or her meal, the more I see that it’s about customer satisfaction, as learned in lesson 4.

Customer is the "King" in market.

The second strategy is categories. For this strategy, company should categorized and set up the scope of product & service provided to customer. They need to make decision whether to sell the product that customers will purchase from the company or sell the only product that the companies produce.

T he customer is always right. Everything we are taught about customer satisfaction is intended to keep us focused on this one principle, and we need to keep this in mind whenever we deal with the customer. Everybody’s business revolves around a customer base, whether we are a service company or a manufacturer.

The third strategy is capabilities. The range of capabilities that will exist within the company need to plan well. They need to help each other so that they will receive the benefit together. Examples of the capabilities are technology, process, people, and knowledge/insight.

I support this claim that “customer is always right” . First of all of the definition or the meaning of “customer is always right” is a standard process that states a company's willingness to be seen to put the customer first. It applies to everyone outside the business organization. Customer’s choices are to be respected because each person has an independent entity, with the individual wants and needs. These are the people who have the influence to maintain you in the business or to kick you out from the business.

Example for the company who apply this strategy is Air Asia.

The fourth strategy is cost, profitability and value. The main focus for this strategy is to improve customer profitability which is selling the product that will bring to company a good relationship although the product is not really profitable to company.

We have all gotten that call from an unhappy customer, and a lot of thoughts run through our minds: “What a jerk,” “Why does he have to be so unreasonable,” or even, “What did we do wrong this time?” Sometimes we think our customers’ expectations are too unreasonable. But think about it: Aren’t they only trying to get what they need or want? Is it unreasonable that they call to tell us the product doesn’t do what they expected? Maybe you’ve gotten an e-mail with photos of workmanship that didn’t meet the customers’ standard. Maybe they never told you what the standard was. Those customers are still right because it is our responsibility to understand what they want before we commit to any agreement. If customers haven’t given us a standard against which they are going to compare our work, it is our responsibility to ask them for it.

Next strategy is control to the contact compare to cash process. This strategy is to make sure the account is connecting to the account is well managed and controlled.

Collaboration and integration is the sixth strategy in relationship marketing.

Key phrases such as “how can I help you?”, can lead to the customer explaining to you what they want and will appreciate direct answers in a language they can understand. Being honest maintains your integrity. I have been in many situations where I did not know the answer to what a customer was looking for. In these incidences, I simply informed them I didn’t know and would find the answer for them. I then kept the customer apprised of what I learned. If we thank the customer for their business, then we are sending the message that we appreciate and maintain their business. I feel that if we neglect being appreciative, customers will feel deceived and used, and creates ill will and negative advertising for your company. Sincerely proving you care about your customers leads to recommendations and repeat sales.

This strategy is focus on the work jointly.


The eight strategy is communication/interaction and positioning. This strategy is mainly focus on the two way communication between companies with the customers.

In this report, I discussed my opinions about the business philosophy of ‘the customer is always right’. I discussed my thoughts and feelings on this subject and the steps I will take to enhance my customers’ experience. I finally discussed the strategies I thought provided a more useful alternative to the subject. There might be a difference in what people want and what they actually do; regardless, it is very important to listen to your customers. It is extremely important to know what your customers really want and treat them with courtesy, respect and honestly. Ultimately, they are the ones who visit, revisit and recommend your business to others.

The company should not only follow the traditional one-way communication. The company should interact with customers to get to know what the consumers want so that can fulfill their needs.

The next strategy is customer measurements.

I have always been told “the customer is always right.” I was forced to learn this rule the first day I was hired at Dairy Queen. I never understood why this is a universal rule. So next time you are the customer and you demand you are right, remember things happen, and we are not trying to inconvenience you.

The time for each aspect of customers need to be measured. This is to track the profitability for every customer so that the company can make sure who to reward. Using metric to track customer satisfaction will brings to simple year to year comparisons made.
Customers’ loyalty to a company is won by satisfactory services delivery. Service staffs including the senior managers of the corporation should give all customers high priority when it comes to service delivery. In other words, the customers should feel satisfied immediately after being attended to by the services staffs. In the event that there is slightly complaints from the customers, the matter should then be treated seriously to clear any notion of deception that could arise. It is the customers first then other issues follow later. The service staffs should be ready to understand the customer’s’ plight and respond shiftily to quench their demand. Since the sustainability of the organizations relies on the existence and the availability of the customers, it is, therefore, necessary to protect their interest within the organization.

The tenth strategy is customer care. In this strategy, beyond more on customers service. A well planned strategy for customer care is important.

The last strategy is chain of relationships. Make sure the relationship between employee and customers is good.

Southwest Airlines and the other companies I cited make no excuses for not acknowledging that the customer is always right. They think their success is solely based on putting their employees first. That way they don’t have to deal with the tough customer. Certainly there is a lot of merit in treating your employees right. After all, they are your most valuable assets. But they do not pay the bills. The best way to treat both your employees and customers right is give your employees the tools to always be able to treat your customers with respect and enthusiasm. That’s a win/win. Happy employees, who know how to treat even the tough customers and keep them happy. In turn, the happy customer not only comes back but also becomes a spokesperson—telling others to do business with your great company. Satisfied customers become your most valuable advocate.

Besides, the stakeholders that create the value consumers want need to be manage well.


There are ten structure in relationship marketing. The ten structure are (1) commitment,(2)trust, (3) power, (4) control (part of power) (5) balance of power(part of power),(6)interdependence, (7)communication,(8) cooperation,(9) idiosyncratic investment,(10)conflict resolution.

Righting the wrong is not always easy. Whether it’s our fault or not, we need to show an effort to help correct the situation. It’s always some form of corrective action, making sure to capture the situation so it can be reviewed to possibly preempt a future situation. This includes fixing or replacing the product or service—once the requirements are clear. If the problem is caused by an issue beyond your control (e.g., bad weather closes the runways at the destination), you will need to help the customer deal with the delay. Airlines used to provide a room, meals, and a toiletry kit when this happened. They don’t do that anymore, but that doesn’t mean they can’t assist in getting those things for their customers. The key here is to work with the customer to get an agreeable resolution. Communication—what you are and are not authorized to do—usually helps. A little empathy always helps, too. Think about how you would like to be treated.

Commitment is about the willingness to make short term sacrifies to realize the long term benefits. For example a shampoo company "Sunslik" gives out the samples for the syampoo to customers. After the customers try,they will willing to buy the product if the product is very good.

When I go into a business I don’t realize all that it takes to run that business and neither do many other people. Hours before opening to hours after closing it takes a well balanced, group of people to run things smoothly. Many times we would get cut down by people, or set back by unthinkable problems. However, we always showed up the next day. So, when you are the customer and you know that you are right, just remember to be nice to every hard worker in a business, and they will usually do the same for you.

Besides,they will promote the product to their friends and relatives which is the power of "word of mouth". Commitments brings benefits to company to gain more profit in the future.

Trust is the indication of the straight of the relationship between the two parties which is, the customers and the companies.

Let me set the record straight before proceeding: Customers are not right when they are dishonest, pursuing an illegal outcome, or acting in an immoral way. I am talking about customers who are being fair about what they expect, which is within the realm of the business model you are working in.

Both party see as win-win situation. In this structure,customers trust company on their service and prosuct. Besides,company also trust customer knowing they'll pay.

Power is about a party ability to push or influence another party to undertake some activity that the party will not normally do. For example a company control the employee to do some activity such as recycling papers.

When I am put on a register, it’s my job to bring the company money. When I tell you your total, don’t get angry at me because your total is high. I will agree sometimes buttons do get pushed too many times or discounts vary. If you think it’s my goal to steal your money, think again. After I put your money into the register I have to give you a receipt, so it’s not like I am pulling a fast one on you. Be nice to the front counter person.

Control is the part of power. This is the result and outsome of power when a party is success to change or influence the another party to change.

Balance of power is part of power too.Balance means the symmetric of the power.

Customers are the greatest asset for any business and no matter, right or wrong, the business cannot do without them; they might not be hundred percent right all of the time, but they should still be given a benefit of doubt. Customers need to feel pleased, feel like an entity and it is extremely necessary to personally know your customers and listen to them. Always remember that the first impression is the last impression, thus handling customers with a great attitude will be auspicious and empowering for the business which is stated by Balachandran (2007), “empowering customers can take place by providing them with sufficient knowledge or the nature of business and their products.” However every rule has its exceptions, so does this one.

Imbalance is about the distatorial abilities towards other.

Interdependence is a company depends on employee to serve customers and customers depends on company to provide them products and services which is the same state of depences.

How about complaints in the service sector? The food is too cold! The line is too long! Why doesn’t your airline serve snacks anymore? Our training and common sense should bring us back to a way of thinking that, no matter what, we must treat customers as if they are always right. In some cases they just need a little help to get the best solution. We might need to redirect them to something more appropriate for their needs. They may not know even know what they need, and it’s up to us to help them find it. Perhaps we don’t even provide what they need; we may need to point the customer to an alternate provider (yes, the competition).

Communication consists of formal communication and informal communication. The firms need to communicate well with each other to share the useful information and help each other to gain more benefits.

Cooperation is the similar action that taken by the companies which is whole firms includes the employees.

Most unsatisfied customers will never come right out and tell you they’re unsatisfied. They simply leave quietly, later telling everyone they know not to do business with you. So when a customer complains, don’t think of it as a nuisance, think of it as an opportunity to change that customer’s mind and retain his or her business. Even if you receive complaints, you can learn from them. You can learn a lot from a customer if you let them vent their feelings. Encourage them to get their frustrations out in the open and don’t argue with them. Share your point of view as politely as you can and take responsibility for the problem. Take action immediately to remedy the situation. Empower your front-line employees to be flexible in resolving complaints and ensure they are fully aware of your business policies.

leaders) to achieve the mutual benefits.

Idiosyncratic investment is about tha sunk costs that wont be able to recoverable in event of a termination.

Conflict resolution is the methods of eleminating source of conflict. This usually resolve by negotiation or mediation.

I do not believe that this is always true and customers are frequently wrong about all kinds of things. So despite the almost universal acceptance of this saying I will explore whether that is actually the best approach. The first thing I looked at is how this approach affects the customer. While everyone would like to be right all the time, it just isn’t going to happen. ‘The customer is always right’ focuses on the immediate satisfaction of the customer with little regard for the final result of experience and an important part of the experience is the outcome. A customer will not be satisfied if the outcome isn’t what they truly wanted, no matter how happy a customer is with their treatment throughout the interaction. The other side of this adage is the effect it has on the customer service you provide. Creating a happy customer clearly a goal of anyone that is trying to deliver exceptional customer service. However, going into a customer encounter with the idea that they are always right fails to recognize the expertise and experience that the service provider has to offer.

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