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The Customer is Always Right

Is the Customer Always Right?

“The Customer is Always Right!” There is little doubt in my mind that you have heard this phrase before.

Originally, it was coined by Harry Gordon Selfridge, the founder of Selfridge’s department store in London during 1909.

Harry Selfridge was a retailer – he wanted to instill this mantra within his employees, so that they maintained a positive attitude in service toward the store’s customers.

But in our modern era, many people question this adage. Particularly being in a time where people can seem a slightly more unfriendly, cutthroat, and entitled than they were 110 years ago when Harry coined his phrase.

So is the customer always right? The answer lies within your customer’s needs.

Understanding your Customer’s Unique Needs

To know whether the customer is right or not starts with understanding their needs deeply, and aligning them with the product or service that you offer.

Is the customer asking you for something that you are reasonably able provide?

When seeking to understand the customer’s needs, you must first start with understanding the customer themselves.

Creating Deep Buyer Personas

A practical means of doing this is to create deep, thorough buyer personas of your target customers.

While many marketers will curate buyer personas based on age, demographic, location, and other attributes, they often miss out on key pieces of the equation.

Source - Where do your customers come from?

In the Internet age, understanding where your customers come from is easier than ever.

Take time to explore different social forums, networks, referral partners, and marketing channels to see understand which one the customer prefers to connect with you.

Challenge - What is the root issue that your customer needs solved?

Business owners always purport that their service/product will solve ALL of their customers needs. But have those needs been expressly defined?

Interview your customers, sales people, and read your reviews to start mapping out the root issue that the customer is really trying to solve.

Example Scenario

For example, a weight loss clinic may assert that the customer has joined them in order to lose weight. But the customer’s desire to lose weight may be part of a deeper need:

1. Lowering blood pressure (Deep)

2. Gaining a better sense of self-image (Deeper)

3. Reclaiming a sense of their youth and mental health (Deepest)

The weight loss clinic may then look at their service and adjust it to better speak to the customer’s need. Usually, the more emotionally driven the need, the more powerful it is.

Critical Examination of Competitors

How deeply have you analyzed your competitors? Have you simply analyzed the competitor’s service offering, prices, and marketing?

Sun Tzu’s famous “Know thy enemy” shouldn’t be taken lightly. Put yourself in your competitor’s space… maybe they are interacting with your customers differently? Are they fulfilling a need that you are not?

Learn everything you can from thorough examination of your competitors.

Benefitting the Customer Long-Term

Contented customers are shaped by their experience during the sale, but DELIGHTED customers are created by through their experience once the sale is complete.

The “Delight” phase of sales is defined as everything that happens post-sale in order to truly delight the customer.

The customer may unconsciously anticipate that you will disappear once the sale is complete. But how can you go up and above expectations with your customer?

Your ability to follow up and continue offering great service is essential to the customer benefitting long-term and becoming a true raving fan of you and your business.

So is the customer always right?

The simple answer to this question is… most of the time.

Customers want to connect on a medium that is comfortable for them. They want to have their needs deeply understood and completely addressed. And (whether they know it consciously or not), they want to have value and care provided to them once the sale is complete!

If your business is meeting and exceeding all of these criteria, your customer is likely very happy! And if they still want more… well, you may have to analyze what they’re asking for and make that call yourself.

But, in my humble opinion, salespeople and business owners should always default to giving the customer the benefit of the doubt!

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