Don’t deny it.
You’ve heard this common expression:
“The customer is always right.”
It’s even become a cliche, and you know how it goes when something becomes a cliche – few people dare to question it.
I am one of those few. And yes, I do dare.
Once upon a Time, at Shoprite…
Not really once upon a time. This happened today.
Barely 10 hours ago, I almost got mad at a cashier in Shoprite.
Okay, that’s a lie. I got mad.
A simple problem. At least to me, it was.
I bought an item, and somehow I didn’t remember I’d need a receipt to leave…
It’s not my fault. I don’t go to Shoprite often.
So I got to the exit, and got turned back by security because I couldn’t find my receipt.
I went back to the cashier, and we had this conversation:
Me: “Hi, I can’t find my receipt. Did you give me one?”
Cashier: “Yes, check yourself well”
Me [after emptying my pockets and searching my wallet]: “I’ve checked myself. I can’t find it.”
Cashier [interrupting me]: “You haven’t checked yourself well. Check yourself again. I gave you the receipt.”
Me [after taking a minute to imagine kicking her in the throat]: “Look, I’m not saying you didn’t give me the receipt. What I’m saying is whether you gave it to me or not, the issue now is I can’t find it. Is there no way you can print out another one?”
Cashier: “NO, I can’t help you.”
And then I began to think about strangling her but saner reasoning prevailed.
I saw a man who looked like the head of security, and after a short conversation with him, he sorted the issue out and I left promptly.
In the cab barely 20 minutes later…
I was still pissed at the cashier, half regretting my decision not to strangle her (just kidding).
Then, while searching for something else in my bag, I saw the damn receipt.
Good thing I didn’t strangle her, right?
It got me thinking though…
Was I right to be mad at the cashier when the fault was obviously mine?
The receipt was in my pocket. Did I have any right to be angry?
Why was I even angry?
I was angry because the cashier made me feel stupid.
She may never know it, but she gave me a look of scorn or disgust, almost like she was looking down on me for misplacing a receipt that she was sure she gave to me and had the guts to come back to ask her for another one.
And by that reasoning, I had every right to be angry.
It’s all about the point of view…
Maybe I should stick to the cliche that the customer is always right.
Maybe. But I won’t.
Because it just isn’t true.
I was the wrong customer today so yes, sometimes the customer isn’t right.
What do you do when the customer isn’t right?
I’m not some customer service rep or HR consultant, but you don’t have to be one to know that making the customer feel stupid is not the way to go.
Maybe she was having a bad day, or she didn’t like her job, or maybe I was ultimately and unequivocally wrong.
It doesn’t matter.
Giving me the impression that she thought I was stupid and refusing to solve the problem… that placed her in the wrong.
I might not be able to tell you exactly what to do when the customer isn’t right. I do know I would have preferred her to have at least showed some concern or at least help with the problem.
Or maybe that’s too much to ask.
Any whish way, in all your customer-related dealings, remember:
“People might not remember what was said or what happened, but they will always remember how you made them feel.”
And you have failed as a business, if you leave your customer feeling anything less than WOW.
Got any better ideas for how to deal with wrong customers?
Let’s talk in the comments.
Keeping it 500,
Author: Tomi Joshua
Tomi is a case.
A bit brash, at first blush. But ultimately, he means well. There are very few things he won’t say or do in the presence of tolerant company (especially when it could make for a good story later).
Tomi is a Doctor, writer, certified inbound marketer (Shout Out to HubSpot), Digital Hustler, and online business addict.
He is most likely to be found dancing to the beat of his own drum, even in accapella.