Home > Customer Service > The customer is NOT always right.

The customer is NOT always right.

Let's start a debate in the forum, shall we? I will argue the point that the proposition and try to resolve the debate in such a way as to have a general affirmative consensus that the customer is NOT always right.

The only rules are if you want to argue Affirmative (agreeing with this proposition) you start your post with an A. If you want to argue the opposite, or Negative, meaning the customer IS always right, you start you post with N. You can then either rebut a statement made (use the QUOTE feature) or make your own point.

I'll start;

A - There are times when the customer wants to do something that is not in their best interest. By agreeing to go along with it we are not doing them any favors, thus we must provide a healthy argument as to WHY NOT (and what is better suited to their needs) or do them a disservice! - by Gold Calling
A - There are times when the customer wants to do something that is not in their best interest. By agreeing to go along with it we are not doing them any favors, thus we must provide a healthy argument as to WHY NOT (and what is better suited to their needs) or do them a disservice!
A - Frequently a customer or prospect does not have enough information to act in their own best interest or avoid making a poor decision. We are hardly fullfilling our roles as sales professionals if we have that information and fail to provide it. - by Ace Coldiron
A I agree with both of you.

Aloha... :cool: - by rattus58
Excellent thread.

The customer is not always right and I think that we always need to be honest with customer, if we feel that the choice they make is not in their best interest we must share with them why. HOWEVER, it is their money and their choice, if they still chose the wrong path then we work with them and try to make it as successful as possible, despite the choice they made. I have walked away from deals that I felt was just a bad choice with no possible positive outcome, and a few times my willingness to walk away convinced the customer to do the right thing.

I am curious to hear other responses on this.

Kathy - by Kathy Hokunson
Okay, I'll play the devil's advocate. :in

N - Only the customer knows what is best for him or her, not the salesperson and for the salesperson to impose his or her beliefs on the customer is inappropriate and unprofessional. - by Slick
Okay, I'll play the devil's advocate. :in

N - Only the customer knows what is best for him or her, not the salesperson and for the salesperson to impose his or her beliefs on the customer is inappropriate and unprofessional.
A - Do you believe that agreeing with a decision that we believe is not good for a customer is appropriate and professional? - by Ace Coldiron
Excellent thread.

The customer is not always right and I think that we always need to be honest with customer, if we feel that the choice they make is not in their best interest we must share with them why. HOWEVER, it is their money and their choice, if they still chose the wrong path then we work with them and try to make it as successful as possible, despite the choice they made. I have walked away from deals that I felt was just a bad choice with no possible positive outcome, and a few times my willingness to walk away convinced the customer to do the right thing.

I am curious to hear other responses on this.

Kathy
Kathy, are you taking the negative or affirmative on this? - by Ace Coldiron
A - Do you believe that agreeing with a decision that we believe is not good for a customer is appropriate and professional?
I don't have to agree with the customer's decision. That is not my place. My job is to help the customer get what they want. - by Slick
I don't have to agree with the customer's decision. That is not my place. My job is to help the customer get what they want.
A - rebuttal - the customer does not know what they want until we show them what that is. They may think they know but they can't know what we know.

In short, it is our job to share with them more information so that they are in a position to make the best possible decision for themselves or their business. And this happens daily in business.

An example; the customer is convinced that they need a $10 million addition to their production line in order to achieve the efficiencies that would make them more competitive in the marketplace. We know that we can make their existing system work more efficiently thereby saving them ten million bucks (for the cost of $200,000 in consulting and engineering fees).

If we adopt "the customer is always right" as an iron clad adage, thinking stuff like A "no now might be a yes later" rather than working hard to get them to see there is another option, we would simply loose $200,000 in billing and they would waste $10 million.

This example is from a sales call on Friday.

The customer is not always right. it is just that simple. A great sales person knows this and helps them see that they are maybe not making the best decision for themselves, which is awesome when nit happens. - by Gold Calling
A- The customer really has no idea what product will suit them best. Most customers know their want or needs, but being human they tend to let society and fear of change dictate their actions. So even though they are looking at a product or service they think they want, they may be unaware that there is a similiar product or service that fits more of thier needs and wants, that will benifit them more in the long run. Happens all the time in car sales. Customer comes in and "ONLY wants this vehicle". When you investigate you realize that the vehicle they have choosen doesnt really fit what they are intending on using it for. As a sales consultant your job is to provide them options for their wants and needs and let them make a more informed decision. Of course you steer the decision to the goal of a sale, but its your responsiblity to show them other options to their needs. If you are able to present an alternative that they haven't considered that fits their needs better, they will probably be happier and become a repeat customer. - by jrboyd
A- all these threads indicate that the customer has come into our place of business with a "want or need" and expects us to satisfy it. I have seen great comments from everyone on this, however, what if the customer comes in and demands the company we represent do things the customer way? Taking the adage that the customer is always right would mean we need to change our business to fit that particular customer, then the next customer and so on until our company is no longer following the original sales model we started with.
In short...the customer is NOT always right and needs to be educated and shown the difference. - by martykapp
I agree that we should not force our views and opinions on our clients. However, as a professional sales consultant we can offer them guidance based on our extensive knowledge of our product/service offering and history of experience providing the service or installing the product for usage. If a client makes a decision that works against those things then as professional consultant we are compelled to be honest with them and educate them, not just grab a sales order that would not serve their needs. However, if they still make the incorrect choice then we can certainly move forward with them having made our perspective clear.

Often times a poor decision is being considered because it is less expensive which is really an objection as they don't quite yet see its full value. This should be explored as well.

Of course this is all touchy ground and must be done with grace and courtesy, but still it must be done. I find that honestly always wins. Even if the incorrect choice is made, in the case of service offerings, many times the following year the client will move to the right offering, graciously.

Good conversation.
Kathy - by Kathy Hokunson
My Perspective.... Read MY OPINIONS ON THIS...

We as sales professionals are supposed to be just that. We are supposed to know what our products do. We are supposed to know how are products are used, and how people get along without our products. We also have to know how the competition stacks up against our products.

What does it mean when we say the customer is always right? I learnt it as being ... DON'T ARGUE WITH HIM! Period... nothing else and fix the problem. This wasn't a sale thing, this was a claims thing, a return issue, or complaint.

A good business person never says never, and never says that things can't change. They never think either that they're always right either. They change with the landscape.

I think that the title of this might have been "Should we go along with a clients bad decisions or observations if it doesn't affect us?"

It is our job to consult, educate, and disturb, this last being an open interpretation of causing one to think.

In my opinion.... READ MY OPINION... you MUST point out the obvious to him either directly... as in "Bob, what you're planning is going to cost you money. Is there any reason you haven't adopted some of the more efficient alternatives?" or...

"Bob, you know that there are some really efficient alternatives out there that can have the benefit of saving you thousands of dollars. Are you irreversibly committed to this option right now? If not, can I share some information with you... or if another field, can I have someone contact you that does this so you two might chat and explore some alternatives before you commit financial hari kari here?

I know this is brazen, but it would be the same for something small or even less defined... workplace environments, for example.. or music.. or type of music... I know of a store owner who pipes in or plays the most horrific hawaiian music that NOBODY likes... who works there. He thinks it creates the mood of hawaii... His sales staff hate it and do you think they push their sales? I know two of the seven in there and they both tell me that they cannot wait to escape... and if they didn't need the money.... well you get the picture... if they didn't need the money... they'd be gone, and if the opportunity comes up, they WILL be gone... Should someone tell him? Yes. But so far... he's right isn't he?

Aloha... Tom :cool: - by rattus58
A - There are times when the customer wants to do something that is not in their best interest. By agreeing to go along with it we are not doing them any favors, thus we must provide a healthy argument as to WHY NOT (and what is better suited to their needs) or do them a disservice!
A/N - If based on my experience or understanding I believe the customer's potential actions are not in their best interest I will tell them so and allow the customer to make their own decision on how to progress beyond that point. - by Houston
A - There are times when the customer wants to do something that is not in their best interest. By agreeing to go along with it we are not doing them any favors, thus we must disagree and provide a healthy argument as to WHY NOT or do them a disservice!
Does this apply to tobacco, alcohol or any other products that are bad for your health? - by Iceman
A - There are times when the customer wants to do something that is not in their best interest. By agreeing to go along with it we are not doing them any favors, thus we must provide a healthy argument as to WHY NOT (and what is better suited to their needs) or do them a disservice!
A/N - If based on my experience or understanding I believe the customer's potential actions are not in their best interest I will tell them so and allow the customer to make their own decision on how to progress beyond that point.
In no way was I suggesting that we force a prospect to do other than they want to. Of course they have to make their own mind up - the point of this thread is, initially, they are not always right.

For instance; "I want to think it over" is not always in the best interest of the prospect. If you agree and leave, you just did them a disservice. And, while this is an overly simplified example, I trust my point is made.

In other words, I am saying that Houston just answered AFFIRMATIVELY in this argument/debate, not NEGATIVELY .... the two quotes above say more or less the same thing.

Does this apply to tobacco, alcohol or any other products that are bad for your health?
Iceman, professional sales people do not sell retail in a corner store where cigarettes and alcohol are sold. So, if that is what you mean, then it does not come into this forum (or even this website).

If you are talking about representing a winery, selling wine to a retailer (a wine shop), then yes, it does apply. But the tone of your question leads me to beleive you are thinking in terms of what is in the HEALTH interest rather than what is in the best interest as a BUYER. Hopefully the distinction is obvious. - by Gold Calling
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