The Customer Isn't Always Right

I often hear the phrase, “the customer is always right.” Nothing can be further from the truth. There were a lot of times where I, as the customer, was wrong. The perfect example happened recently. I was performing an under-cover visit of a client’s bar/restaurant to see how their operations were going and to give my client feedback from my visit.

The night started at the bar, with a bigger group of friends. Then, I moved to the restaurant with one of my friends and her husband. After a great meal, and some fun conversation, it was time to get the tab. The waitress brought the tab over, and at first blush, it appeared that we had been overcharged by a round of drinks. I spoke with the waitress, and she was phenomenal in handling the inquiry. We walked back through the events and sure enough, the bill was accurate. She had a nervous smile on her face, but when I said what a great job she had just done in handling my questions, she really began to beam.

If this waitress had followed “the customer is always right” mantra, then she would have just discounted my bill and moved on. However, she walked me through my questions and left me thoroughly impressed with her customer service. What do you believe would have been my experience if she had just said, “you are right” and discounted the bill without having any sort of discussion regarding the merits of my questions? 

Meeting Needs & Expectations

What was even more impressive, was the result of the conversation that I had with the owner. I relayed the story to him, and the deeper I got into the story, the bigger the smile on his face. He had a meeting coming up in a couple of days with his entire team. He let me know that he called out the waitress in front of his entire team. He reiterated how important customer service was and that their goal was to always find a solution and handle themselves with a smile, even in the face of adversity. He shared my story with his team and then he handed the young woman an envelope that contained a $200 cash bonus for performing her job in such an exemplary fashion. 

Customer service is not about the customer being right. It’s about doing your best to meet your clients’ needs and expectations. The only way to achieve such a standard is to ask what are their needs and expectations. What percentage of times are your team members asking the client what are their needs and expectations? By creating a deeper connection with your clients, they will buy more from you which leads to increased revenues for the business and greater tips/wages for your team.

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