“attention customers…”

I have worked in the service industry all of my adult life – that totals 35 working years. Here in the United States there is a phrase that has been tossed around the service industry so much that it has become and is perceived as a behavioral truism to be honored, revered, respected and upheld at ALL costs.

That phrase is:

The customer is ALWAYS right!

This type of “truism” has served no one – not even the customer. It has made businesses make concessions where none should be made just to avoid bad press. It has made some customers abusively use the perceived truism as a weapon to get what they want. Worst of all I believe it to be wrong, incorrect and without benefit for individuals and society.

It would be better to say, “The customer is sometimes right and sometimes wrong.” But people will reject that because no one wants to take responsibility for being right or wrong – or, take responsibility for determining who is right or wrong. According to the business satisfaction model currently in use – it’s better to just pay the customer off and give them what they demand.

What’s the cost?
IS there a cost?
How does this behavior affect the economy?
Does this behavior encourage more greediness and entitlement?
Or, does it simply uphold the golden rule by being willing to “take a hit”?
Does this behavior ultimately hurt?
Who does it really hurt?
How is the person who feels entitled and determined to get what they feel they deserve hurting themselves?

What do you think?