“The customer is always right” is a phrase most commonly used in a sales/customer service environment. This quote was meant to assure consumers, and to help ease tension should conflict arise. In my 16 years of servicing customers, it is evident agents fear confrontation. This leads customers standing by the belief they are 'right'.
I recall my mother stating I would become successful in an environment with phones and people. To prove her wrong, I worked many different jobs, while avoiding the one true calling I tended to naturally perform, genuine customer service. After fighting the urge, I finally took a leap of faith. My life in the contact center has improved my relationships as a daughter, sister, a mother to my daughter, and friend to everyone I meet. During this time, I have learned how to find solutions, de-escalate frustrated customers, and display empathy. Most often, when the “customer is always right” is directed towards service staff, it’s the result of a frustrated customer, not a right customer.
It is really a matter of perspective. When a customer is dissatisfied, you must first remove yourself personally from the equation. The customer may be frustrated for reasons not involving you:
- Unmet expectations
- Difficulty getting timely assistance/help
- Poor quality/defective product
It is imperative to acknowledge the feelings of your customer. Allow them space to vent! Remember, frustration is simply a cry for help. Be empathetic and apologize on behalf of your company. Most of all, find the one solution to resolve the issue. Once a solution is reached not only will you feel successful, you likely saved a customer.
Grant Cardone wrote, “The quality I most admire in others is the persistence and tenacity to find a solution when there doesn’t seem to be one”. Those are words everyone in customer service should live by. Our profession does not allow us to wash our hands of the frustrated customer. It requires dedication and empathy. Sometimes, it requires hearing how right they are! At the end of the day, they’re still your customer. Nothing is more ‘right’ than that!
Elaine Parra is a Paterson NJ native, of Honduran and Puerto Rican descent. Now living in Florida, she continues to strive for a life of positivity and excellence. Elaine believes what you give to the world affects your karma.
With 16 years in customer service, Elaine relies on an authentic, empathetic and personalized approach to create satisfied customers. Connect with Elaine on LinkedIn!