The post was called: Is the customer always right?
With a title like that I was always going to get ‘sucked in’.
Anyway, according to Yolanda ‘the customer is always right’ is a philosophy that originates in the early 1900’s from Marshall Field’s department store in Chicago, who used the phrase as a marketing strategy to convey that at Marshall Field’s the customer was always right, treated well and, thus, a place where you want to shop. The phrase is also associated with Gordon Selfridge, the founder of London’s Selfridges store. If you are interested you can read about the story behind the phrase here.
Yolanda worries in the post that a marketing slogan has become a customer service mantra and that can create all sorts of problems and false and misleading thinking.
Here’s what I wrote as a comment:
There’s a problem with that saying in that many people (as you rightly point out) assume that it implies that every possible customer is always right. That’s false economy.
Your post reminded me of an old saying that comes from poet John Lydgate, later adapted by President Lincoln, I think, which goes:
“You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time”.
Guess we need to be clear on who our ‘some of the people’ are and focus on them.
It’s an old idea but worth sharing again in this world where we see the rising importance of customer service.
I think it gives focus to what we do as businesses, what customers we serve, what signals it sends to our employees.
What do you think?