Why the Customer is Never Right

Why the Customer is Never Right

Isaac Degenholtz, Writer, Website Director


Twenty years ago people believed the customer is always right. But times have changed and the world has evolved.

Now the customer can be wrong! Some say that it is ridiculous to let the customer service representative on the other side of the connection to tell you that you are wrong; others think that it is criminal for them to not give you a discount on that HBO subscription. But the truth is now companies have reinstated the powerful word no. Of course their is a logic to this anarchic madness (or at least we are meant to believe that), the companies have found that a happy employee is more valuable than an abrasive customer and that in the long run they are more likely to keep the other customers happy.  They also believe that the only way to a happy employee is removing the golden rule “The customer is always right” . Companies also now believe that not every customer is an important one, cable providers have canceled contracts with rude clients, airlines have removed offensive passengers, and stores have escorted customers off of the premises for constant complaining.

In fact the real power now lies in the employees, watch out next time you try to get a refund on your lightly used deodorant because now when clients get too aggressive the employees can hang the phone up, or even worse report the customers to their supervisors. Some might think that might not be so bad, right? Think again, these supervisors no longer side with the customers because new teaching found that siding with customers undermines the employees and decreases their work ethics. Surprisingly, employers will sooner right a letter saying you’re wrong and if you think not go use a different product then tell a customer service representative off for challenging a customer. For example the former CEO of Southwest airlines told a story of a customer who flew Southwest and continually complained about the service she got:

Her last letter, reciting a litany of complaints, momentarily stumped Southwest’s customer relations people. They bumped it up to my desk [Herb’s Kelleher, CEO of Southwest] desk, with a note: ‘This one’s yours.’

In sixty seconds I wrote back and said, ‘Dear Mrs. Crabapple, We will miss you. Love, Herb.’”


Unfortunately, the world has hit a new era where the customer cannot always get that 2 for 1 on shampoo bottles not on sale, and when you want a phone plus a case for the price of the phone you are denied. It means that people can no longer harass the representatives on the phones without fear of consequences and finally it means that the customer is not always right.