The Customer Is Not Always Right

The Customer Is Not Always Right

The old adage of “The Customer is Always Right” has dumbfounded many of the front liners, especially with the boom of the outsourced and remote contact center business model that sprouted all over the world, servicing most of the customers in the First World or developed nations. It is no surprise that social media has been used by these front liners – posts, messages, stories, audio tracks and videos – to show how the customer isn’t always right. In my judgmental opinion, I’d say 70 percent of the time, the customer is always wrong.

But business ethics, logic and maybe even morals dictate that the front liners must not say customers are wrong. A very long laundry list of spiels and scripts have been created through the decades depicting, predicting and insinuating what the customer service representative of an organization must say and should do. Their bottom line and that of the company they work for is, regrettably, the customer is 100 percent always right.


I’ve had my share of “the customer is wrong” experiences and no matter how I attack the situation with grace and decorum, the customer’s insistence that he or she is (always) right even if they are wrong will never resolve the situation. We, the customers, have to accept the fact that we are sometimes or often times wrong. When we conclude we are wrong, lo and behold, the entire customer service process becomes painless, hassle-free and maybe even very comfortable.

Is it ego? Is it deceit? Is it stubbornness? Or is it that the customer, 70 percent of the time, is just an idiot?


I am writing to both the customer and to the business owner that instills “The Customer is Always Right” approach even when it just doesn’t make sense to do so. As customers, when we are wrong, there is no shame to admit it. Heck! The two parties on the telephone couldn’t even see each other lest know each other personally. If we are wrong in our initial tirade, let us just accept that we were wrong, plain and simple. Because when this happens, you and I, and the customer service rep at the other end of the line can all move on and fix our dang problems.


Having worked in the technology realm of everyday things for decades, one stone unturned is the ability of the customer to do some do-it-yourself pre-call activities. Call it a self-help diagnostics. If that happens, the wonders of fast-tracking or short-circuiting the customer service process creates a wonderful experience, not to mention fixing the real problem.

So, as a business owner, you must find a way to give your customer an easy-to-read, easy-to-understand and easy-to-use self-diagnostic procedure that helps the entire customer service process. Don’t assume all your customers are idiots and need a kindergarten method of customer service. When I have problems with my computing service, say my DSL connection, and I call customer service, I stop the customer service rep from his long spiel of diagnosing the problem because I have already performed most if not all of the things he wants me to do. I short-circuit the initial process so we both don’t waste each other’s time and fast-track ourselves to the root of the problem, usually theirs.

Call it “Customer Service Tips” or “How to Fast-track Solving Your Problems.” However you would like to call and market it, you need to find a way to send this information to your customer – social media, e-mail, blogs, VoiceBlast, print mailers and SMS. It’s still too expensive to go tri-media advertising so I suggest going to the online path (first).

If you do not have a ready DIY self-diagnostic material for your customers, then you will be spending all your money on long customer service conversations because you are telling your customer service reps to parrot the self-diagnostic process over and over again, for each customer even if the person at the other end of the line is a Steve Wozniak, a tenured Harvard Computer Science professor or a Janette Toral. It’s time you provided your customers with a self-help guide.

Ease the pain and heartaches for both your customer service rep and your customers. Bring down that wall between them. There are more ideas out there than what I have just written above. Pretty much, thousands more of ideas to help short-circuit the customer service process and relieve the angst that has been brewing all through the decades, all because business owners keep on the believing “The Customer is Always Right.”

And what is customer service? The simplest definition is this: “It is a promise to deliver.” Deliver the goods and service. Deliver the solution. Deliver the end result, regardless of who is right or wrong. And deliver it fast.


P.S. I decided to categorize this article under “Business” rather than “BPO” because it is not just a contact center issue; it is a business decision to change the way you service your customers today.

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