Stick To Your Guns And You May Shoot Yourself In The Foot


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This is my "I was wrong, you were right" face.

This is my “I was wrong, you were right” face.

Let me give you a very real scenario and while you’re reading this, you can refer to the included image of me with a sheepish grin on my face.

If you’re like me, you believe your systems are infallible and any customer claiming otherwise is obviously wrong.  How many times have you uttered some iteration of “I am right and you’re wrong.”  These are so often the famous last words of customer service representatives — including yours truly on many occasions.

In a recent scenario, a customer claimed he had not received a refund.  I confirmed in our system that we had in fact refunded him.  A month or so passed by and he left us a (not so) nice note on our Facebook page indicating we still had not refunded him.  I again confirmed that I had correctly refunded him.  Again, he confirmed that he had not been refunded.  The customer must be wrong, right?

In a symbolic gesture similar to throwing my hands up in the air, I decided to have someone check our payment gateway to make sure the refund was successful.  Guess what?  It wasn’t!  I pulled the string a little further and found out that we had a full-fledged bug in our system.

Regardless of whose fault it was, I got to go back to the customer, tail between my legs, and say “I was wrong, you were right.”  As you can image, the customer responded saying, “Thank you so much, Jeremy.  People make mistakes all the time.  I’ll retract my Facebook comment and tell all of my friends that I was just kidding about all the things I said about your company.”  Actually that’s not how it went.  The customer told me where I could send his money and he sure as heck won’t be returning to our company again any time soon.

The moral of this story is simple.  In customer service and in life, if you stick to your guns, you might very well shoot yourself in the foot.  The customer very well could have been wrong, as they often are, but I sure wish I hadn’t waited so long to get a second opinion.  I leave you with these great words:

The customer isn’t always right, but they are always the customer. ~Shep Hyken

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jeremy Watkin
Jeremy Watkin is the Director of Customer Support and CX at NumberBarn. He has more than 20 years of experience as a contact center professional leading highly engaged customer service teams. Jeremy is frequently recognized as a thought leader for his writing and speaking on a variety of topics including quality management, outsourcing, customer experience, contact center technology, and more. When not working he's spending quality time with his wife Alicia and their three boys, running with his dog, or dreaming of native trout rising for a size 16 elk hair caddis.


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