Is A Customer Always Right?

Is A Customer Always Right?

This goal of this article is to most certainly have each reader ask themselves the question, “Is a Customer Always Right?”

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Sure customers can be very difficult, and sometimes even flat out unreasonable. I get that.

But they are still paying your bills, and likewise paying your rent, electricity, and the heating of your business. So remember, no matter how you much you may want to openly disagree with them please tread carefully and don't alienate your customers.


No one likes being corrected, interrogated, or placed in an uncomfortable position.

It just so happens for this example we will use a very familiar industry we all have been a patron of: the hospitality food and beverage industry.

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Is a Customer Always Right? Treat your customers with respect

Here Is a Lesson of What Not To Do

Here's a lesson of what NOT to do as a representative of a successful business. Or to make sure what your employees should never do.

What we should expect is a certain minimum amount of courtesy from our waiters and hospitality service staff, especially when we know a restaurant has a good reputation - even though we may have experienced varying degrees of service from time to time.

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However, what I'd like to know is, has anyone here EVER had such an absolutely dreadful experience at a fine restaurant like we had when we were on vacation?

Read the full story and this may beg to ask yourself the question, “Is a customer always right?”

Is a Customer Always Right? Our vacation in St. Maarten begged me to ask this question.

Is A Customer Always Right? One Evening While On Vacation

Well one evening while on vacation in St Maarten, my significant other and I went to a reputable dining establishment with our friends Barbara and Bill to a place called Port de Plaisance.

Incidentally, our friends have known the establishment owners for quite a while, as she and her husband have been long-time customers.

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We finished our appetizers which were excellent, and waited a long time for the main course. This was not a problem, as longer wait times are to be expected when good food is prepared and made fresh. And we were all having nice conversation.

Finally our main course arrived. Our friends were having duck confit, my partner seafood and foie gras and I was having a special aged rib-eye steak.

Is a Customer Always Right? Should a waiter question hos customers?

After taking a few bites, I found that my rather expensive aged rib-eye was too chewy and unacceptable. Our friend Barbara observed I was having trouble cutting and chewing the meat, and suggested I send the food back.

Was it right for the waiter to inspect the rib eye in 5 separate cuts?

Normally I would do this on my own without hesitation, but since I was conscious of my partner’s feelings at the time didn't initiate the idea on this occasion.

However on Barbara’s behest, I called the waiter over.

I politely explained the problem with my meal to the waiter, "Sir, I'm sorry but this steak is way too chewy and I can't eat this. Would you mind taking this back and making another one please?"

That's when something very surprising happened. Instead of adopting the correct and appropriate "Customer is always right" attitude by taking the steak back without question.

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Instead the waiter immediately demanded that he see proof that the steak was unsatisfactory. He then proceeded to ask me to cut the meat open for his inspection not once, not twice, but at least 5 times in indifferent places on the meat!

By my third cut, he hovered over me and continued his rude interrogation while inspecting the meat after each cut while I continued to comply without argument.

Is a Customer Always Right? Ask this when your waiter is rude

After additional deliberations and questions that seemed to last an eternity, the waiter was finally convinced and reluctantly agreed to take the food back and bring me a new cut of meat.

To my good fortune, the second time the aged rib-eye steak was done quite well and to satisfaction.

Barbara later commended me for acting pleasant and maintaining control with the waiter, even though he reacted rude and inappropriately to my request.

What I found out later was that Barbara complained to the restaurant owner who she knew well, and the waiter was later reprimanded harshly by the owner. Although I did not agree with the waiter's behavior, if I had known this is not something I would have approved of Barbara doing.

I don’t believe in ever jeopardizing someone else’s livelihood, even if they did use very poor judgment to carry out something highly inappropriate.

The customer is always King

Is A Customer Always Right? The Customer is Always King

There is a valuable business lesson here to be learned here. Even if you do not believe the customer is always right. The Customer is Always King.  

This is particularly true when you have a new customer who has been highly recommended to your business by a long time return customer.

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Under no circumstances whatsoever is it acceptable to interrogate your customers. Nor is it ever acceptable to request that they make exhaustive attempts to prove to you that they have been sold an inferior product when in truth the product was a normal product.

The customer definitely deserves better.

In fact, we all deserve better.

We all deserve better

No matter how tempting this may appear, under all circumstances you should avoid doing this or allowing your employees to do this.

Such foolish acts will certainly risk alienating your past and future customers. They may even come back to haunt you. Especially if you want your online or brick and mortar businesses to survive and thrive.

You will certainly lose your following one piece at a time. Such foolish actions will irreparably damage your company’s reputation

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Remember one thing if you still dare to ask yourself the question and not yet convinced “Is a customer always right?”

The Customer is Always King.

And Never Alienate Your Customers!

Thank you so much for reading, and I would love to hear your comments and experiences below.

About the Author

KAJU is the band leader and founding member of OFF THE HOOK, one of the premiere dance party bands in the New York Tri-State Area. After contracting a mysterious hand disorder, Kaju now writes to help other musicians and artists deal with disabilities. Currently he is a Full-time Affiliate Marketer and 1-on-1 mentor at Wealthy Affiliate, a community that can help anyone start an online business without prior experience. This is where he teaches others how to make a great passive income. Read more about his story here!

  • Fran Kelso says:

    How true — alienating your customer is the last thing you want to do. Often it takes all you can muster just to maintain your cool. Reminds me of a story I’ll share with you.

    For several years, I sold at the Alaska State Fair in Palmer. The Kaladi coffee co. always had a booth, and the guys who worked in there were really fun.

    After the fair was closed, many of us would congregate and “party” afterward. Once, one of the guys from Kaladi Brothers, who had been a waiter in a posh restaurant, told this story.

    He had a very difficult table he was dealing with; many complaints; weren’t satisfied with anything. Finally, one of the women called him over and said, “This baked potato is bad!” By then he’d had enough. He reached out and took the potato, slapped it several times on top, and said, “Bad potato, bad, bad!” and then carried it off.

    I’m curious — did folks at the table laugh? Or leave?

    • Kaju says:

      That’as one big bad potato, and an even more impressive great story your friend has presented us, Fran!
      I hope those folks laughed, because I would be beside myself!

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