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If the customer is always right, what you do when they are incorrect?

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This is a continuation of a series about customer service. Click here to go to the beginning.

All successful retail giants of the early days of chain stores: Nordstrom, Penney, Kresge, Sears, McCrory, Hudson and Ward believed the customer is always rights. It was not until they passed the reigns of their retail empires to others that customer service began to deteriorate.

The adage that the customer is always right is not just a truth, it is an absolute. But anybody working in customer service knows that a customer can be incorrect. In order to give world-class customer service there needs to be an understanding that a “right” customer is a matter of perception and not necessarily backed by fact.

When a customer is incorrect your only choice is to accept the customer’s reality or to try to change their reality. Accepting the customer’s reality is easy. Unfortunately carries with it the potential of lifelong harm in dealing with this same customer in the future or with other customers in the same paradigm.

But changing their reality can be hazardous. Do not even attempt to change their reality if it will take more time than it is worth as in changing the reality could make things even worse. That effectively change a reality and get them to understand the company’s point of view provides the opportunity of winning their business for life.

©2014 Max Impact, used with permission.

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