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The great customer service debate: Is the customer always right?

The great customer service debate: Is the customer always right?
The great customer service debate: Is the customer always right?
Used by license from

One of the long-standing theories of retailing is that the customer is always right. Managers and clerks will opine for hours trying to convince others to their side of this argument. The facts are clear and there is a definitive and absolute answer to this age-old query.

To determine if the customer is always right or if the customer is not always right we should first look at a retail legend – the Nordstrom brothers.

As the legend goes it was many decades ago when a customer was passionately attempting to get a refund in a Nordstrom Department Store. One of the Nordstrom brothers is said to have walked by the customer service desk to hear the customer passionately request his money back.

“Sir, what is it that seems to be the problem,” said Nordstrom.

“I purchased this here and it does not fit,” replied the customer. “The clerk is refusing to refund my money despite your policy guaranteeing my satisfaction.”

“The gentleman does not have his receipt,” injected the customer service clerk.

“That is true,” explained the customer, “but I know I bought it here and I demand my money back.”

“You are certain you bought it here?” asked Nordstrom.

“Yes I did,” asserted the customer, “and I want my money back now!”

“Very well,” responded Nordstrom, “but the clerk know how much you paid and we will gladly give you your refund.”

Nordstrom then made small talk with the gentleman while the clerk counted out his reimbursement.

Once the transaction was complete the customer was once again smiling, shook both their hands, complemented the store and walked out happily.

As soon as a customer was out of hearing range the clerk asked a question to Mr. Nordstrom, “Sir, you do know we do not sell automobile tires.”

This gave Mr. Nordstrom the opportunity to prove to the clerk, and everyone else, that the customer was always right.

What did he say?

After considering the possibilities, click here for the answer.

©2014 Max Impact, used with permission.

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