The Customer is Always Right
There is a popular saying in business, “The customer is always right.” Originally coined by Harry Gordon Selfridge, the original meaning suggests that “a company’s keenness is to put the customer first.”1 Ultimately this phrase indicates that businesses must be aware that their customers are the essence of their business. Without customers, the business would seize to exist. I concur with this philosophy as customers are the fundamentals to any business or organization. Although I do agree that the customer is always right, I must also state that I do no necessarily agree that it holds true 100% the time – no one is right all the time! The philosophy of the business does need to center on the customer. All relationships – even the most successful ones, can sometimes disagree. In business, as in life there no absolutes(perhaps with the exception of death and taxes!) What businesses need to remember is another common saying: no one wins an argument with a customer! Most successful businesses have appealing products or services, they can provide those products or services in a timely and effective manner and they can provide these at a fair price. What sets many businesses apart is their position on customer value and their commitment to customer service. “Exceeding customer expectations is no longer an option. A customer’s experience must be a memorable one that initiates repeat business coupled with a positive word of mouth endorsement.”2 Customers are the reason that business exists in the first place, thus business policy and procedure should ultimately reflect customer service. In the last several years businesses has evolved with the integration of eCommerce and a growing population of educated consumers. As stated by Greg Gianforte “with the competition just a mouse-click away, businesses must excel at customer service.”3 Rapid evolution in business requires best business practices to be heightened to new levels. Yet many businesses sometimes forget that the customer has the final word. Customer service should be at the forefront of any business policy, procedure, or practice. Consumers today are looking for the entire package. It is not enough to offer good products or services at fair prices. Businesses today need to be socially and environmentally conscience. They need to be able to compete in an ever changing market place. And most importantly, they need to value and understand the importance of their customers. Each business should ultimately realize that the success of their business is dependant on their customers. As stated in our lecture notes: “The customer is the most important entity in any organization.” There are several practices that businesses and employees can implement to enhance customer experience. I think one of the most important practices that can easily be implemented into the business culture of a company is to listen to their customer. The voice of the customer is extremely powerful in an ever changing business environment. Minor changes can prove to be major success for businesses. Manu companies apply unique approaches of gathering customer feedback by providing incentives to fill out questionnaires. The Gap offers 10% off of future purchases should you be “invited” to participate in one of their online surveys. This tactic not only enables the organization to gather important feedback, but it also ensures a higher likelihood that the customer will go back for future purchases with the incentive offered. They know their customers and they listen to their customers. What I also find interesting is that they are continuously asking for consumer feedback which is an excellent method of knowing your customer. Another step to take to enhance customer experience is to build relationships with customers. Although it may seem so simple, many companies simply forget that customers are people too! Some companies treat...
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