Is The Customer Really Always Right?

May 23, 2023

The phrase “the customer is always right” is a popular saying in business and has been around for decades. It is used to emphasize the importance of customer satisfaction and to remind businesses that they should always strive to meet the needs and expectations of their customers. The phrase implies that businesses should put their customers’ interests first and foremost to make sure that customers are satisfied with their purchase experiences. By doing so, it is assumed that businesses can ensure long-term success and loyalty from customers.

While this view of customer service has its advantages, it also has some potential drawbacks that should be considered when making decisions about how to handle customer relations and customer dissatisfaction. 

Benefits & Drawbacks

In today's world with customers having more power than ever before due to the Internet, social media, and competition, businesses need to be prepared to meet customers’ demands. 

The primary benefit of this approach is that it encourages businesses to provide excellent customer service and complete customer satisfaction. By listening to customers and responding quickly to their needs and/or complaints, businesses can build strong relationships with customers to ensure loyalty and repeat sales over time. However, this approach can also have potential drawbacks if not managed properly and can be detrimental to a business if taken too literally. For example, it can lead to decreased employee morale if employees feel as though they are not being given the same respect and consideration as customers. Management must be attentive in listening to the employee’s side of a possible dispute or issue with a customer. Obviously, this approach can also lead to decreased profits if a business becomes too focused on pleasing customers 100% of the time rather than developing effective business strategies regarding customer satisfaction and dissatisfaction.

A Balanced Approach 

A balanced approach to “the customer is always right” mantra should be considered and developed to ensure that customers receive the best possible service while also maintaining accountability and standards of the business. This approach should include listening to the customer's needs, understanding their perspective, and providing them with solutions that are mutually beneficial. By taking a balanced approach, businesses can ensure that they are providing excellent customer service while still maintaining their own standards and policies.


·       Improved customer satisfaction - By prioritizing the customer's needs, opinions, and problems or issues, businesses can create a positive experience for customers leading to improved customer loyalty and retention.

·       Competitive advantage - Businesses that go above and beyond to satisfy customers often gain an advantage over their competitors. Satisfied customers return and are more likely to recommend others to the business as well as providing positive online reviews.

·       Increased revenue - Satisfied customers are more likely to spend more and make repeat purchases.


·       Customer entitlement - The belief that the customer is always right can lead to customers feeling entitled to special treatment and unreasonable demands putting pressure on businesses to accommodate these requests, even when not feasible or profitable.

·       Disregard for employee well-being - When businesses prioritize the customer's needs over employees, it can lead to burnout, stress, and dissatisfaction among the workforce resulting in high turnover rates and low morale.

·       Financial costs - In some cases, accommodating the customer's demands can be financially costly for a business if the problem or error is undoubtedly caused by the customer. 

When and How to Apply 

As a business owner or manager, it is essential to understand the importance of keeping customers satisfied. The mantra “the customer is always right” can help a business achieve this goal. It encourages businesses to provide excellent customer service, ensure customers are a priority, and helps businesses create a positive image in the market while build long-lasting relationships with customers.

In order to apply this mantra effectively in a business, management and employees should focus on understanding customers’ needs and expectations, providing them with immediate or timely solutions to problems, and creating a culture of listening.

Strike a Balance

In summary, while prioritizing customer satisfaction can lead to numerous benefits for businesses, it is important to strike a balance between meeting customer needs and protecting the well-being and financial health of the business and its employees.

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