In a news article I recently heard they were discussing Black Friday and customer service. I don’t remember what channel but the guest made the remark that the old adage “The customer is always right” is outdated.
That adage was first said in 1909 by Harry Gordon Selfridge, the founder of Selfridge’s department store in London. The idea behind it is to convince customers that they will get good service and to convince employees to give good service. Thinking about it I realized that guest on the news program is right. I can’t remember the last time I had good customer service. Can you?
I remember plenty of times that I received less than, sort of okay, I could live with it service. Isn’t that awful? I can even tell you some horrible stories about the service at some restaurants. I remember the first time I had a bad experience. I was twelve years old and wanted a large soda at a pretty famous restaurant in Atlanta. I was on a school trip that year. I was so excited but when I placed my order the lady behind the counter told me I was too small for a drink that large. She gave me a child size. I was so angry but she refused to give me anything larger. I went home and remember telling my parents that I didn’t know who that lady thought she was. I was thirsty because it was hot and I had to go back for multiple refills.
Another such instance happened when I was older. I paid the cashier with $100 bill and she gave me $140 in change. I told her she gave me too much money back and she told me she knew what she was doing and to mind my own business. So I proceeded to get a manager who told me the same thing but in some language that would make a sailor blush. I remember thinking that I was trying to do was keep them from being short. I could have taken the money and walked out. I would certainly say their customer success platform was an epic fail.
I would say for customer success it is important to at the least listen to what the customer is saying. Both of those times I would say that I was right. However, I have seen when a customer is wrong. Way back when I worked in the grocery store I had a lady return a bag of flour because it had those little bugs in it. Flour gets those, it happens. She spent thirty minutes screaming at me at the top of lungs about how horrible our store was. I apologized and told her that we had no control over that particular brand. It was actually a brand that a vendor brought into the store in small batches. I went on to explain that flour can get those bugs but there is no way for us to check, short of opening the flour. I offered to not only give her the money back for the flour but another bag of any brand she wanted.
Another time I refused to sell alcohol to a lady that could barley stand up on her own two legs. She smelled like she had been drinking for hours and the law says I couldn’t sell it to her. She actually said me when she started yelling and throwing things. The manager ended up having to call the police to remove her from the store. It was not pretty and I was shook up over it. Both of those times goes to show that just because the customer thinks they are right doesn’t mean they are. A company shouldn’t have to pay through the nose for a simple mistake. Nor should they be subjected to violence because a customer is angry. So this Black Friday please try to keep your cool when you are out and about. People tend to get crazy and everyone can make mistakes.