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OYAGSB UUM

The Customer is Not Always Right and I Tell you Why

The belief is that customers must be respected, be treated intelligently and employees should provide excellent customer service in order to meet all customers’ needs and wants.

Author, Asmat Nizam Abdul Talib.

The customer is not a moron. She’s your wife.

The quote above is taken from advertising executive David Ogilvy’s 1964 book, Confessions of an Advertising Man. Fundamentally, this policy is adopted to convince customers that they will be assured get good service at a company, while for a company, it forces their employees to give their best services to their customers all the time. The belief is that customers must be respected, be treated intelligently and employees should provide excellent customer service in order to meet all customers’ needs and wants.

Today, in a globalized-small world, customers are armed with social media and can easily use them when they think their rights are denied even what may not always be right in the company’s perspective. Subsequently, if a company adopt the “The customer is always right,” policy, it can affect its business in negative ways, such as it can affect negatively employee morale, slow down innovation, empower rude customers, and even create unhappy experiences for other customers.

While customers are always assumed Kings (and Queens), there are also instances where they are just plain wrong and the company should not treat them as such. When the products do not function or services given are not the way they want them to, customers can go to any extent and make unrealistic demand, even to the extent of making ludicrous things. Customers could also try to establish that they know better and try to share opinion and advice on how businesses should be performed or how the product or services should work. Irrespective of the industry or business, it is risky to let the customers think that they cannot be wrong.

By large, businesses operate with limited resources including limited financial means and time. Every business would encounter grudging customers, who, whatever might be done to satisfy their needs, will continue to complain. Businesses need to take the necessary steps to improve and address the issue. Giving information and provide feedback would alleviate customers anxiety and help them understand the issue. Once they have done their level best, business should close the matter and move on. Businesses do not depend on individual customers and thus it is important that they do not spend the whole effort and resources to satisfy someone who does not intend to be happy. Instead, attention ought to be given to the needs of hundreds and thousands of other regular clients. Businesses should focus on improving or creating better products and services, and in doing so, they set their standards much higher than what the customers know to expect. Instead of “the customer is king” and for businesses to spend resources and chasing after customers, it is time to think of “product is king” and this way, it would make customers wait in line!

Asmat is an Associate Professor of Marketing and International Business at OYAGSB, UUM. Follow him on Facebook.

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OYAGSB or the Othman Yeop Abdullah Graduate School of Business, Universiti Utara Malaysia is one of the leading business schools in Asia. It offers Master of Business Administration (MBA), Doctor of Business Administration (DBA), Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and Doctor of Management (D Management) programmes for ambitious professionals, corporate executives and senior officials in their journey to formalise their knowledge at the highest level. To apply, visit OYAGSB’s official website.

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