Is The Customer Always Right?

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

switcher right/wrongMany service organisations live by the creed that the customer is always right. It works well when you need to convince salespeople that their business’s purpose is to achieve high margins and loyal customers.

Much is stated about keeping the customer happy. But are there times where this ethos actually harms businesses? Are there situations where the customer actually isn’t right?

Well, yes, there are. It’s how you deal with them that will make the difference. Here are some examples where the customer may well be wrong:

When They Are Ill-Informed

The customer at times might be ignorant or lack knowledge of what your policies might be. This could be due to a misunderstanding or simply that think they know what is correct but they don’t.

In these situations, be as polite as possible without being patronising. The customer may be unaware of the policies you follow, so you need to educate them assertively without it being seen as embarrassing or compromising.

When They Are Greedy

There’s a difference between negotiating for a good deal and being greedy. Your customer doesn’t know what your margins are, nor what you need to achieve to cover your overheads. They may see the situation from the angle that you need the sale more than they need your product, so you can give that little extra, can’t you?

Well, it may be that you could, but the long-term relationship may suffer if you can’t afford to service the client’s needs after the sale.

When They Want Something That Wouldn’t Be Good For Their Future

Often, customers will think they know what will be good for their business. But your knowledge of how others have used your products and services, and improved their businesses when doing so, may well take the conversation onto a different plain.

Here, you can share ideas with the prospect on how their business could be even better if they followed your suggestions. Highlight how your history has benefitted other companies and got them great results. When you have created trust and rapport, you can then build on what you could do with them if they followed your advice.

These ideas have worked in the past, so allow them to drive your decision-making. The customer may well be right, but under some circumstances, those truths may be stretched.

Before I sign off, here are some more tips on becoming a great sales person:

Happy Selling!


Sean McPheat

Sean McPheat
Managing Director

MTD Sales Training | Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

450 sales questions free report

Originally published: 4 April, 2013

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