There is nothing more infuriating to a hardworking employee than the phrase ‘the customer is always right’. So if a customer tells a foreign company employee that he should ‘piss off back to his country’, is the customer still right? At what point do we throw out the rulebook and acknowledge that the customer can actually be a massive pain in the ass and can even cost your company money? Here are 4 reasons why you can’t allow customers 100% carte blanche to do what they want.
1 – You End Up Angering Employees
I’ve personally had to deal with customers who were to misery what George W. Bush is to foot-in-mouth syndrome only for management to come down firmly on the side of the customer. When you treat employees like serfs, you can expect an insanely high staff turnover and constant instability. While you should definitely clamp down on poor customer service, you also need to treat each unique situation on its merits rather than assuming the employee is at fault.
2 – You Give Free Reign To Appalling Customer Behaviour
Like it or not, if you give the average human being the opportunity to behave like a jerk and not only avoid censure but actually get rewarded, you are opening the door to bad behaviour. How are you going to control the odious cretin who asks for a ‘complementary’ goodies because of a minor, or even non-existent, faux-pas on your company’s part?
I worked in a hotel where this imbecile asked for, and received, a free dinner because his mother ‘didn’t like the way his cauliflower looked and this upset her so much she couldn’t eat her meal’. Allow people to behave like monsters and you’ll end up with a pretty nasty customer base.
3 – Inferior Customer Service
The toxic combination of angry employees and customers with a sense of entitlement only spells doom for your customer service ambitions. When you put the employee first however, they will in turn bend over backwards to help customers. Treat staff well and watch as they are more pleasant in their interactions with clients. Because they feel valued, your team will care more about customers, have more energy, be fun to interact with and possess more motivation.
Treat staff poorly and watch as they take out their anger on customers who respond in kind. Unappreciated staff feel unmotivated, tired, think they have no right to gain respect from customers and will believe the company doesn’t care if the employees are well treated. How can you possibly expect people to work under these conditions? Sadly, many corporations, especially fast-food chains, have precisely this attitude.
4 – You Lose Money
In the long-term, allowing customers to behave like petulant children at the expense of your staff is a recipe for failure. In the short-term, allowing customers to do what they wish also costs you money. Each organisation has a finite amount of resources that can go into dealing with awkward customers and if you are a slave to difficult customers’ whims, these individuals will cost you a disproportionate amount of time, energy and resources.
All you can do is try your best to appease the customer but if he/she keeps wailing like a Banshee, you need to cut your losses, move on and let another company deal with the problem child.
You must build brand loyalty around reasonable customers and throw your weight behind your employees. Instead of trying to placate everyone, move forward and jettison whiners and moaners like the excess waste they are.