‘The customer is always right’ is a phrase that gets repeated often with regards to business – typically retail and hospitality outlets, where customer-facing roles are under a level of immediate pressure to provide for a given demographic. Ironically, the phrase is more commonly repeated by customers themselves, especially when they seek special treatment or a short-term solution to a problem, be it low stock or sub-par service.
But the phrase is much more than a worn adage justifying misplaced egoism. It is a true statement, for a variety of reasons that may not be immediately apparent; at least, not immediately apparent to minimum wage retail staff enduring difficult customers.
In a time of unprecedented economic crisis, it is more important than ever that new and growing businesses properly reckon with their business-consumer relationship. A new business can get everything right logistically and internally, but failing to organically grow meaningful relationships with core and repeat customers is a recipe for failure. Here, we will examine some of the key ways in which the customer is, indeed, right.
Learning Your Trade
Whether your business is B2C or B2B, the core transaction between you and your clients or customers is an essential part of your business integrity. Without a proper understanding of, and approach to, managing this transaction, the premise of your business can fail altogether.
The customer, naturally, is the real arbiter of whether or not your service is successful. This is just as true for administrative and industrial businesses as it is for retail and hospitality. Feedback forms and active customer service can reveal to you the shortcomings that might preclude clients from returning while demonstrating an understanding of customer needs and commitment to customer satisfaction.
Demand Breeds Opportunity
But the initial definition of ‘the customer is always right’ was not necessarily with customer service; instead, the phrase was first used to describe customer demand and the importance of reading it correctly. If your business’ offerings do not shift to reflect the wants and needs of your customer base, you are tacitly avoiding organic growth and threatening to lose customer loyalty altogether.
By properly reading the market, and by actively reaching out to your core demographic with surveys and questionnaires, you can build a real picture of the products and services you should be offering – and your business can flourish as a result.
The Fruits of Your Labour
In properly reading and responding to the wishes of your customer base, you demonstrate to them that you understand them to be ‘right’. This is rewarding in multiple ways: you retain customers by refining your offerings and service to their needs, but also see an uptick in organic sales or client acquisition through word-of-mouth marketing. The customer is not only right when talking to you, but also when recommending you to other customers.