Is the Customer Always Right?

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Extended Marketing Mix > Best Practices > Is the Customer Always Right?

Is the Customer Always Right?
Daniel Bott, Manager, Nigeria, Member
1. The customer is always right.
2. The customer comes second.
Which position do you agree with? Why?

Is the Customer Always Right?
Niaz Mohammed, Member
Whether the customer comes first or second depends on the business you are in:
1. For a business into making customized products or services for individuals - the customer is always right
2. For a business into a mass market - customer is second. Every individual has their own perception of a product / service as a customer. It would be impossible to satisfy everyone. Understand the majority of your target market and deliver it with a balance so that there is something for everyone.

Customer Comes 1st or 2nd?
satyajit mohanty, Teacher, India, Member
It also depends on the situation. The consumer is one of a stakeholders in a company and also the most important one. But you can't always go out of your way trying to satisfy the consumer. Sometimes it can hamper the profitability of your business. Specially in case of B2B marketing. Here each customers is worth thousands of dollars to the company.

Always Respect the Customer
Ryan McMinn, Business Consultant, United States, Member
Instead of saying "the customer is always right," a business should be saying: "the customer is always respected."
A business should always strive for win-win situations in any case possible. Each situation must be evaluated to determine win-win scenarios. In situations where a win-win is not possible, then a decision must be made that shows respect for the customer even if it is not in the customer's favor.

The Customer is Always Right
Martin Mwesa, Manager, Zambia, Member
Customers are always right. Our job is to understand their needs and then to figure out how our capacities and core business can deliver on their expectations. Failure to satisfy the needs of the customer is usually a failure on our part of taking the necessary trouble to understand them. Marketing is an ongoing process, therefore an organisation should put in place necessary capacities to fullfill even future customer trends.
Even in the case where you fail to satisfy a customer, you still have the duty to professionally and creatively state this position. Any normal customer will appreciate that and will come back or refer others to you in future.
It's also key to asses a customer. Remember not everyone who knocks at your door is a customer; they are first prospects and only after you have qualified them as one, you treat them as customers. So really don't mistake a prospect for a customer, customers are always right.

Positions of Customer
shantanu karaiya, Student (MBA), India, Member
Customer comes firstly.
Because all the marketing policies depend on customers and marketing starts with identifying the need and wants of the customer.

The Customer
John Cowper, Business Consultant, Australia, Member
The late Bob Stone, (author of 'Successful Direct Marketing Methods' once said "A customer isn't a customer until he bought twice". He was a wise man!
Then again someone else said "The customer may not always come first; but they're still the customer"
Both statements put things in perspective...

Customer # 1 = King
Samuel Prasetya Dharmatama, Management Consultant, Indonesia, Member
Customers come first! The reasons why are really simple:
* Customers are powerful to either bring friends and relatives to shop 'til they drop at your business establishments, or invite friends and relatives to another business establishments.
* Customers are powerful to either:
- pay and be satisfied,
- pay and dissatisfied,
- not pay and be satisfied, and
- not pay and be dissatisfied.
This means that the customers are the ones who rule the trading transactions. They are the king. Since they are the king, it simply means that we are the slaves/servant..... We should have the humble heart to serve the "king"......

Respect Customer
Henry Young, Student (University), Member
Maybe the customer isn't always right, but needs to believe he is? That being said, I'm in agreement with Mr. McMinn; respecting the customer is the way forward!

Customer is not Always Right
Y Yogi Raj, Entrepreneur, India, Member
This is the most over-rated phrase. If customer is always right, there is no need for entrepreneurs to brainstorm on new ideas. It is job of a sales man to identify customer needs and educate back to the customer.
It is OK to recommend alternatives to customer in a polite way. It will establish credibility that you know your customer well.
Customer is always valued but not always right.

Reinventing Leadership
Dillon, ICT Consultant, Namibia, Member
I was taken aback at the situation in some companies where the current type of leadership can only bring out 50-55% of capabilities of individuals because we expect people to do what they should for a salary.
How do you get people to innovate, be initiative and be passionate. This, according to Gary Hamel, requires us to rethink the way we lead organisations. We need a leadership team that is accountable to the followers so that they (followers) will give their all and above.
We need a shift from the philosophy of the customer comes first to that of the staff come first so that they can do all they can to exceed the customer's expectations.
This challenges the current thinking on leadership.

Customer is not Always Right!
Uttara Kuksal, Student (MBA), Member
This is an overrated phrase. If customers were always right, no business would continue to exist profitably in the long run. Granted the main goal of marketing is to satisfy customer's needs, but that should be undertaken in a profitable manner.
An organisation can always strive to satisfy customers' needs but can't do so always as it is in the business of creating shareholder's wealth.
A win-win situation must be created by any companywhere regard for the customer's needs and wants and benefit to the company must simultaneously be undertaken.

Researching and Satisfying Customer Needs is Always Right
Gerald Richards, Business Consultant, Australia, Member
The customer is not always right. However, they can be given the perception they are always right. How can they be right about a product they know little or nothing about? New products (e.g. mobile/cell phones) require the public to be educated and their behaviour to be changed. Initially, trades people could not see how it would help them - were they right? Now, those people could not live without such methods of communication. Marketing is about researching a need and satisfying it. It is also about changing perceptions and behaviour so people will adapt and embrace the product, be that a new one or a new use for an existing product. One only has to look at advertising to see how that works.

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