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You would have heard it thousands of times: “The customer is always right” – a business philosophy widely used throughout the world says Jan Schoeman, COO of the RMI
While this may be a strong business strategy adopted by most businesses today, it is not always true for all customers.
Sometimes, the customer is simply not right and is often unreasonable in terms of the outcomes he/she demands. If businesses blindly follow the principle and attitude that the customer is always right, it may drive away good business while your company focuses on satisfying those who cannot be satisfied, or focuses on creating short-term satisfaction over long-term customer loyalty. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t treat customers with the utmost respect and care. Instead, you should put confidence behind the opinion of yourself and your staff, and stand by that in situations where the customer is disagreeing about or demanding something you can’t deliver.
If, however, you decide to adopt the principle that the customer is always right, then you’re likely going to end up devoting resources to customers who are angry, and can’t be satisfied. Those resources that could work towards retaining good customers who pay your bills, instead go towards customers who probably won’t stick around, no matter what you do. Your employees become disheartened, because customers are programmed to know that if they shout and scream, they’ll get what they want. This creates an atrocious customer service environment.
The Minister of Trade and Industry appointed an ombudsman for the retail motor industry in 2015. The purpose of the Ombud’s office is to resolve disputes between you and your customers, as and when they arise. Countless reports that we have received, however, speak of unhappiness by suppliers and customers alike that the Ombud’s process of dispute resolution is long, cumbersome, and time consuming.
Enter the RMI!
The RMI has dedicated consumer complaints specialists deployed throughout its regional offices, who sole job it is to assist members and consumers in resolving their differences through a process of mediation. We have, over the years, achieved a 94% success rate in resolving disputes to the satisfaction of both members and consumers.
Often the unreasonably demanding consumer only wants to hear the facts about the validity of his or her claims from an independent third party, endowed with the skills and knowledge to assess the circumstance and pronounce on liability for restoration.
Remember, the customer is not always right. But let’s just keep that between you and me, shall we? Treat your customers the way you would want to be treated—even if you know you are not right—and your business will flourish, because word of mouth will treat you well and you won’t get distracted by the Mr. W. Rongs of the world. And do remember to give the RMI’s specialists a call if you require assistance or advice. Belonging is better business.
* A parody of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Emperor’s New Clothes”