“The Customer Is Always Right” Principle Does Not Always Work

By Glenn Dobson of the KONA Group. “The customer is always right.” This is a platitude often heard around Australian businesses But regularly the question is raised in many Australian sales management training, sales training courses and customer service training programs, with limited resources and budgets it’s near to impossible to get every piece of customer feedback and incorporate it into this business principle. So it makes sense to stop making the claim “the customer is always right” and instead clearly define specific customer experience values which you and your team will incorporate and demonstrate on a daily basis to align with your core service values. Sure, you’ve got to listen to customer feedback but we are in a ‘blame era’ where customers and employees are having less accountability and responsibility for their own actions and are looking to blame someone else whenever they can Therefore it is important you don’t respond to every conflicting piece of advice and feedback from customers In Australian sales training and call centre training in Sydney and Melbourne we often hear sales people complaining that they missed target because “accounts didn’t collect the customer’s cheque; the warehouse doesn’t stock what the customers want; the CRM doesn’t work when…” While it’s good to get feedback from customers, you should determine to what extent you will be using them in making business decisions and how much is just customers exercising their ‘right to complain’ where their feedback is based more on emotion than practical logic. Don’t be like todays politicians who are making decisions that affect the majority based on a minority voice or group!! So What Exactly Is Your Organisation’s Customer Service Philosophy and Strategy? Customer service strategy involves how you are going to have customers experience your brand in a differentiated way so regularly review and ask these 3 questions:
  1. What are our core service principles and values?
  2. What exactly do we want our customers to experience?
  3. How can we best communicate our brand through every interaction?
From day one, you should define your customer experience values. (i.e, easy to do business with, competent, professional service, always ready to lend a helping hand, etc) and set benchmarks for your team as to what is acceptable and what is not That way you reinforce that everything you say and do aligns with your core values. When you have decided on your customer experience values, your business operations should work across the sales, service and support groups to ensure all of these people are able to deliver the desired customer experience with each interaction with customer. How Do I Know If My Customer Service Strategy Is Not Working? When your customer base remains static or is contracting instead of expanding something is wrong. Every sales and customer service interaction with customers is an opportunity to delight them not to disappoint them. When these customers don’t come back to you for repeat purchases it’s logical to conclude that the previous experience they’ve had with your company wasn’t what they were looking for. So it is important to invest in your people and not just systems Hire the right people, not just the best of who was available, then develop them through a practical, customised and results oriented sales training courses and customer service training programs to set them up for success. Then proactively monitor customer engagement via CSAT’s and other KPI’s which help to keep you abreast of how your customer base sees your brand. Keep in mind that the worst customer experiences generally come from companies where its sales or support staff  focus only on the beginning and end of the interaction. You should go beyond these major touch points and think about things that will help with customer growth and retention. To learn more about KONA’s Australian Sales TrainingCall Centre TrainingCustomer Service Training and Sales Management Training and Coaching in Sydney and Melbourne, telephone Glenn Dobson on 1300 611 288, or email Glenn@KONA.com.au