Talking Point: The Disney Institute Blog

A Perspective on “The Customer is Always Right”

April 24, 2014 by Bruce Jones, Senior Programming Director, Disney Institute

Earlier this year, a Huffington Post article created buzz around the common saying “the customer is always right.” In it, the author shares the “Top 5 Reasons Why ‘The Customer Is Always Right’ Is Wrong” and provides examples as to when the customer may not be entitled to the service he or she requests. He stresses that a company’s allegiance should be with the employees first, not an unreasonable customer. By putting the employees first, they will in turn provide better service for the customers.

At Disney Institute, we believe the extent to which an organization cares for its people is the extent to which the employees will care for the customers. We recognize that while our Guests are an important part of our organization, the relationship we foster with our Cast members has a great impact on that Guest experience.

So, is the customer always right?

Sometimes an organization simply cannot provide the service that a customer is requesting. In these situations, however, there are still steps an organization can take to strengthen the relationship with a customer. In this blog post, we share “What Happens When You Can’t Give The Customer What They Want.”

Sometimes, these service failures are not the organization’s fault. However, at Disney, leaders are equipped with resources to approach the situation in a delicate manner. While not every relationship is reparable, it is important to try to mend the relationship with those who could remain loyal to your brand. Our previous blog post speaks to “How Disney Leaders Recover from a Service Failure.”

Tell us - What is your opinion? Is "the customer always right?"

Disney Institute is ready to help you apply strategic rigor to your customer experience efforts - call us at 321.939.4600 or complete our Contact Form

Posted in Quality Service | Tagged Customer Service, Customer Service Training, Quality Service, Guest Experience, Bruce Jones | 3 Comments

3 Responses to A Perspective on “The Customer is Always Right”

  • Colby says:

    on April 29, 2014

    For years we've all heard that common phrase, and many leaders beat their teams up with it as a mantra to live by. Unfortunately, that left the team feeling completely helpless, and therefor, they did not go the extra mile for fear. Hesitation became the fall-back response instead of moving forward and taking action. Employees and your team have to know where you stand, and that you stand with them in times that would call for you to do so. This is not to say that you completely turn your back on the customer, but instead you must look for win-win situations. If you value your employees and want them to value your customers, you have to.

  • David says:

    on April 29, 2014

    The customer isn't always right. However, in a lot of situations, the customer just wants to be heard. And if we are listening closely, we might discover a way to make it our responsibility by tweaking a process in order to avoid this type of a situation in the future. You may lose the customer. But if you never listen, you won't have the opportunity to gain their trust to work together toward a solution.

  • paul says:

    on May 05, 2014

    The customer is not always right but the customer is always the customer. For me that means listening, hearing them out, giving them a voice to their pain, frustration and what in their opinion would be a fair resolution to the issue. Even though it may not be reasonable, practical or appropriate to give what they demand, when handled well even a disappointed customer may not become a lost customer. Always offer a compromise solution - when possible at least try to meet somewhere in the middle and learn from every situation to continually improve the customer experience.

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