The customer is always right: A computer with a screen displaying a man, representing a customer, with several question marks representing this customer’s questions.


The customer is always right!

Understand when this statement is false.


11/28/2019 | By Hotmart

What will we see in this post

Is the customer, in fact, always right? 

You’ve probably already heard this classic statement at least once in your life, whether while running your own business or as a customer yourself. In either case, it’s important to analyze each situation in isolation in order to make the right decision.

Working under radical stipulations can be highly disastrous for your business. 

Putting customers in a position of being unquestionably right is impractical, since this opens the door for abuses that may compromise your cash flow and your company’s image.

On the other hand, your business must be steadfast when dealing with conflicts with customers. After all, with increasingly more competition, your consumers might not think twice before taking their business elsewhere.

Are you wondering which path to follow? In this post, we’ll help you understand better in which situations this phrase is applied and in which it doesn’t.

When is the customer right?

To say that the customer is always right is a rather deterministic statement. 

Instead of thinking in terms of “always”, you can focus on cases in which consumers must have their wishes fulfilled. Most of the time, these are situations in which their rights are being violated — when your business’ role is precisely to serve them properly.

Check out below a few examples of situations in which the customer might be right.

Business Maintenance

Maintaining customer satisfaction is nothing short of critical for your business to stay alive in the market. 

If your audience finds it hard to buy from your and to use your services, it might become increasingly harder for you to build customer loyalty. 

In addition, these people might cast your business in a bad light to their friends and acquaintances.

In order to keep your customer satisfied, it is always important to look at the issues from their point of view. In case they’re right about a given conflict, your role is to ensure that the proper reparations are made.

Compliance with guidelines

Everything your company promises must be fulfilled. In other words, preventing customers from obtaining what was promised to them goes against the law in force or your business’ guidelines, and might imply in legal consequences.

This is the case, for example, of a customer who wants a product’s warranty to be honored and the warranty period is still clearly valid. Your company’s role is to meet the determinations it has defined, as well as those defined by law.

Attention to ethics

In addition to written laws, your company can also be held accountable for its ethics. 

Your customer might be entitled to raise certain issues related to your pricing policy or other characteristics regarding your services.

For example, if one of your vendors intentionally attempts to direct a customer to a more expensive and inefficient product, this is characterized as an ethical conflict. This customer would be right in complaining about this attitude, since what is expected is that the sales teams always act towards helping the consumer.

When is the customer wrong?

Is the customer always right? Not always. 

In certain cases, your business might be under jeopardy due to bad faith, which will require a firm hand on your part, or from the representative involved, in order to defuse the situation and provide the appropriate solution. 

Familiarizing yourself with the examples in these cases is the path to prepare yourself, so check out a few situations in which customers might not be right.

Abusive Relationship

Sometimes customers simply want more than what had been agreed with your company. 

It’s necessary to have a clinical eye in order to detect situations in which consumers are right about what they are asking and when they are in the wrong.

For example, if a product costs $ 50.00, customers have all the right to haggle and try to cut the price down to $ 40.00. However, your business is also free to refuse giving the discount and the customer shouldn’t feel entitled to demand for this deduction.

Lack of certainty in interactions

All of your company’s representatives who deal directly with the public need to have a firm hand when dealing with consumers. After all, everything they say might be used against your business. Therefore, every promise must be made very carefully.

The lack of certainty during these interactions might convey the wrong idea to customers and even worse, make them feel free to demand more from your company without being entitled to it. 

Therefore, don’t neglect the time dedicated to training your team regarding this subject.

Going against the business’ values

Every company needs to have well-defined values that dictate how it operates, especially when solving conflicts. If it easily breaks from these guidelines, it’s as if they never existed.

If there’s an interaction in which a consumer is demanding something that goes against the business’ values, it’s necessary to bring them back to reality and explain how things really work.

How to identify when the customer is right

When analyzing each example, it becomes clear how the line separating both cases is quite tenuous. Therefore, it requires preparation on your part and your commercial team so that you are able to identify the cases in which customers are or aren’t right.

In any case, it is necessary to have clear communication with your audience. 

Always explain the aspects related to your business’ operation, making clear why certain actions are being applied.

Good service doesn’t mean doing everything customers want, but respecting their position and being empathetic

If they’re demanding something they’re not entitled to, it is your role to stay calm and stay focused on adding value to their experience.

Start acting more strategically in your business

Your company shouldn’t be afraid of the statement that the customer is always right. Instead, it’s necessary to identify when this is true and when there are controversies. In both cases, you have to rely on delicate interactions with the public so that they understand their rights and the value your business is delivering.

Despite this, you will probably find people who are dissatisfied with the solutions you have proposed. And even if a customer isn’t right, they might damage your business’ image.

But, like everything that involves relationships, there is a way to get around this reality. Would you like to know how?

Check out our 13 tips for dealing with unhappy customers.