Customer Is Always Right? Right? WRONG! Here’s a Better Thought (book excert)


Share on LinkedIn

Here’s the guilty party – from Perfect Phrases For Customer Service

We need to address the single most popular false idea about customer service. No doubt you’ve heard the phrase, “The customer is always right.” It’s a great slogan, credited to H. Gordon Selfridge, who passed away in 1947. Unfortunately, it’s wrong and misleading.

Clearly the customer is not always right. Customers make unreasonable requests and sometimes have unreasonable expectations. Sometimes customers play fast and loose with the truth. Customers may not understand your company and what you can and can’t do for them.

Practically speaking, you can’t operate under the assumption that the customer is always right. You can’t give each customer what he or she asks for.

So, can we come up with a phrase or two that realistically describe how we should treat customers? Yes. Here are two short phrases that fit the bill.

  • The customer always deserves to be treated as if he or she is important and his or her opinions, needs, and wants are worthy of listening to.
  • The customer deserves to receive maximum effort on the part of those serving him or her, even when the customer’s expectations, wants, and needs may be impractical.

Since the customer isn’t “always right” and it’s often not possible to give the customer what he or she wants, what are the implications for customer service?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Robert Bacal
Robert began his career as an educator and trainer at the age of twenty (which is over 30 years ago!), as a teaching assistant at Concordia University. Since then he as trained teachers for the college and high school level, taught at several universities and trained thousands of employees and managers in customer service, conflict management and performance appraisal and performance management skills.


  1. I love it when I come across articles like this 🙂 It’s so nice to hear others scream what we do at our site as well. In today’s society the customer is not always right anymore. Yes, treat them well but don’t break your back for them when they end up costing you money…


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here