Is the Customer Always Right?

In the good old days, the customer was always right.  So are they any more?


Well, no. Partly because of the size of some businesses now don’t allow for any sort of human engagement with the people on the ground in a store/warehouse/pub; partly because some customers will try anything on to get what they want; partly because our bullsh*t filters are all really good these days, so we know the likely right/wrong outcome; and partly because some people are just wrong.

The point is this:

The customer is not always right, but the customer should always feel right.

There is a distinction. I think feeling is much underrated in business, mostly because it can’t be measured or quantified easily so can’t prove or disprove an impact on the bottom line. So, in the vague world of fluffy feelings, indulge me with an example or two.

Take Apple. Everyone know’s they’re an easy example to aspire to. Their products cannot boast the same range of features or depth of technical specifications that some of their rivals can. Neither can they be described as cheap (so, surprise, surprise, it’s not all about price, you know!). But time after time, they are described as great products because they feel so good to use. They have a more emotional, human connection with us because of the way they feel in the hand, or integrate hardware and software, or just work without us having to put in too much effort.


In essence, they make us feel right. Like we knew it would be this good; we knew it would be this option in Settings (because there’s only one way to get to Settings); heck, in the first instance we knew how to touch it with our fingers to operate it without an instruction manual!

This ‘right-ness’ leads to impressive satisfaction results and equally (if not more) impressive sales figures. I think this is one of the defining characteristics of Apple products. We might not be right to part with ridiculous amounts of money or stand in a huge queue to get a new iPhone, but I sure as heck feel right when I, the customer, used one.

How can you make your customers feel right? Let me know in the comments below.


One thought on “Is the Customer Always Right?

  1. I really like this concept of ‘rightness’, Sam. We know it when we feel it; partly because it’s so rare. In my opinion, it’s all about value. When we receive value, it feels right. When we give value it feels right. The mechanism for that in my view is based on trying to honestly understand the wants, even more so than the needs, of our clients.

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