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Notes on tech

Notes on technology, business, enterpreneurship, economy, markets along with interesting general tidbits.

Why the customer is always right

7/22/2005 08:52:00 AM, posted by anand

Okay, I am cutting-pasting this verbatim from Dave Winer's Scripting news. I believe every guy who runs his/her own business or even some who works as a manager for someone else, should read this article, understand it and remember it. Dont ever under-estimate a customer's potential to either praise/bad-mouth your business through word-of-mouth.

Here is a quote from Mahatma Gandhi "The customer is the most important person in our business. They are not dependent on us - we are dependent on them. They are not an interruption of our work - they are our work. We are not doing them a favor by serving them - they are doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to serve them."

Here is Dave's writeup:

Why the customer is always right.

You're hearing from a customer who isn't happy with the service or product. Either the customer is right or the customer is wrong. You have to decide which it is. Suppose you decide the customer is wrong, but the customer is actually right. You've now taken a serious chance of losing the customer, and it's possible that the former customer will tell other customers or potential customers that you suck, not only do you give bad service, but when you do, you don't make it right.

Now, suppose you assume the customer is right and you give them a new one of whatever was wrong, and apologize for the screwup, and thank them for their continued patronage. Having been given what he or she asked for, and having been vindicated, and received gratitude, the customer is glowing with a magnanimity that is greater than it would have been had you never made the mistake. You win, big.

Okay, now flip it around. Suppose the customer is wrong. They're just human, it could happen. Suppose you assume the customer is right and give them a freebie and an apology and a thank you. It's likely that the freebie didn't really cost you anything, or not very much. Cost of goods ain't what it used to be. Most of the cost is in time, and you'd spend as much time arguing with them, as you would by giving them what they want. And I don't care what you say, an apology and a thanks costs nothing. You can always be sorry and thankful. Always, no matter what, even if you're being scammed and know it. You can be thankful that this person is leaving your place of business sooner than if you argued with him.

The final case is the customer is wrong and you say they're wrong. In this case you're the most screwed. This is one angry mofo and you don't want to hear what they're going to say about you. You don't even want to think about it. Everyone in your store is going to wonder why you don't just give them what they want so they will leave and they can all get on with what they came to do -- spend money.
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