Is The Customer Always Right?

“The Customer Is Always Right”

Are they?

This statement is often offered up in customer service lessons:

“The Customer Is Always Right Even If They’re Wrong”

Have you ever heard that one?

Here are three reasons why I don’t believe that “The Customer Is Always Right”  is good for business.

Some customers are not worth having.

Your business does not have to take every customer it can.

There will always be those sorts of customers who make your life a misery.

In dentistry, I see that there are several types of customers that you do not need in your practice:

The patient who has the clinical patient mirror glued to their nose.

You know the ones….they hold that mirror so close to their eyes… every tiny little microscopic anomaly in that wonderful restoration that you just placed is being examined by THAT patient using their electro-microscopic eyes.

They see things that a research scientist wouldn’t see. Let alone someone sitting across a table from them at a dinner party.

The patient who asks “are you finished yet?” as an attempt to be funny.

Usually they offer this up after you pause to clean the dust off your hand mirror.

The patient who tells you to your face: “you are the best dentist I’ve ever had”

But they never ever have any treatment that you diagnose done. It’s always going to be “One Day” but one day never comes.

The patient who tells you how much they love you in the treatment room, but out the front they whinge about your fees and how much they need to pay. 

Some customers are just plain wrong.

I remember when I purchased my practice in January 1987.

There was an ashtray in the then “waiting room” for patients to use.

I removed it immediately. 

I had less than three years prior given up smoking myself.

But apart from that, I could think of nothing more offensive to do to a dentist than for a patient to scent their mouth, their skin, their hair, and their clothing with the rancid stench of burnt tobacco.

I remember one patient vehemently chastising me for removing her right to smoke in my dental practice.

Well call me a visionary…. I was happy to stand my ground against the patient’s opinion.

Because that patient’s opinion was totally wrong.

It makes employees unhappy.

It makes employees unhappy and can result in worse customer service.

If you put the employee first, what you will find is that the employees then start putting the customers first.

When your business repeatedly sides with customers, it sends a message to your employees that they are not valued, and that treating employees in a fair manner is not important to your business.

It also sends a message to your valued employees that you want them to “put up with everything” from your customers.

You do not want to be sending this sort of message to your employees.

You do need to be showing a respect toward your customers.

But there are some “absolutes” that you do not want to always be standing by, and “The Customer Is Always Right” is one of those.


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