November 10, 2015

No, the customer is not "always right"

This nuttery is no more true than the "we're all in sales now" line.

If you're 'Sen. Cathouse,' you as customer
most certainly aren't always right!
I've heard "the customer is always right" a lot in the newspaper biz. Hey, inside the Beltway or inside the Mopac folks, this is yet another reason why you should try working at a real newspaper sometime, per Charles Pierce.

I know this has also been muttered to retail store clerks by their bosses for decades. In the newspaper biz, though, it doesn't just come from bosses; it, or the idea, at least, comes from many of those customers.

And, it's just not true.

The customer IS always entitled to a reasonable level of respect and courtesy. And, that's it.

I was contacted last week by a customer about misspellings of names. (She did later welcome me to the community after noting I was new, and also after complaining about the local radio mispronouncing names. That probably says something right there.)

As best I can tell, of the two names she mentioned, yes, I got one wrong (in a story-obituary, but not the deceased's name), but did not get the other wrong. At least she didn't claim I had his age of death wrong; I did not, despite hearing that "some people" might call right after that story came out.

Lady in question is a realtor.

So, madame realtor, a rhetorical question: Let's say you're listing a house at $100,000, and a customer says, "That's worth about $65 grand." Is the customer always right?

Thought so. Or, thought not.

1 comment:

Katy Anders said...

We don't have customers at my office, but we do have clients.

And they are not always right.

Pretending it is otherwise ends up hurting our employees and our other clients. Clients can take too much of my time, make unreasonable demands, or get verbally abusive.

They're not right when they do that, and trying to appease unreasonable people takes time that could be spent on clients I can help and who don't have unreasonable demands.

Respect, courtesy, professionalism... and that's about it.