The phrase “The customer is always right!” coined in 1909 by Harry Gordon Selfridge the founder of Selfridge department stores in London. This phrase has been typically used by many business institutions to describe their customer service or used as to align their motto in some way to shape or form for the betterment. It is used to express to their customers how good their customer service is but ironically this motto which stands for excellence in service actually makes your customer service worse in reality. Here are some of the reasons for it:


You are making your employees unhappy

Think about it, the first thing that your employees will think is that the company doesn’t care about them. As they will think that as long as the client is happy it doesn’t matter what the staff has to go through as the motto say “the customer is always right”, even if customer is unreasonable, abusive or blatantly taking advantage of your service, they are still right. Employees will feel like they are just pawns to take abuse from your customer and forced to keep a smile on the face. As Gordon Bethune of Continental Airlines once said “You can’t treat your employees like serfs. You have to value them, if they think that you won’t support them when a customer is out of line, even the smallest problem can cause resentment.”



Bad customers will get better service

Another result from this style of management will lead to a better service to bad customers. On contrary good customers will never demand or take advantage of your staff therefore they will receive the standard service while bad customers who are throwing tantrums will claim better service only because they will never be denied as they can give a bad reputation to the company.


Rosenbulth International’s CEO Hal Rosenbluth puts his view on it, he argues that when you put your employees first they will then put your customers first. This is because they are happy to work and will give better customer service and they will care more about other people including your customers.



Some Customers are just bad for business

A Danish IT providing service company, ServiceGruppen proudly tell their story:

One of our service technicians arrived at a customer’s site for a maintenance task and to his dismay was treated very rudely by the customer. When he finished the task and returned to the office he told the management about his experience and the company promptly cancelled the customer’s contract.

ServiceGruppen didn’t even make a financial calculation of their loss in the long run as for them, employees come first.


Lastly I want to leave you with the title of Hal Rosenbluth’s book that should encapsulate everything told in this article “Put your customer second- Put your people first and watch’em kick butt.