If you are part of a business where you serve people or you build a product for people, do you believe the customer is always right? Or do you believe customers are often wrong and it is your job to let them know and roundly reprimand them?

The great Bill Gates of Microsoft has a reputation for being hard on his employees: He can be tough and nasty. Gates, however, never blames his end users when something goes wrong with his product — or is perceived to go wrong with his product.

Bill Gates knows the end user wants the product to work — that’s why the product was purchased or installed in the first place — and he will listen to them and be supportive of them and then give his team a knockabout time to get those issues fixed for them.

Many times the fault is within the end user but that doesn’t mean the business service or product can’t try to predict behavior and protect itself from the coalition of the unwilling and the willfully unenlightened. An end user immune product or system of services is the golden grail every company yearns to provide, but that journey begins with: “The customer is always right” — even though that may rarely be so.

10 Comments

  1. In my profession, the customer often has a problem and is looking to me and my coworkers to provide solutions. Often, this means that the customer might have certain expectations that have to be tempered with what might happen in the uncertainties of the “real world.” It would be great if what the customer wants could happen 100%, but nothing is ever sure in this world.
    Part of our job is to educate the customer as best as we can.
    Sometimes, we don’t know the answer and have to let the customer know that a little time will be needed to do some research to provide an accurate answer to their questions.
    We can’t blame the customer for the most part, unless the customer fails to take heed of advice. And, even then, we must always make sure that we did everything we could to make sure that they were fully advised.
    I firmly believe the customer is always right, even if the customer is wrong.

  2. Hi Chris!
    I like what you’re selling and I’ll take 10!
    😀
    Finding customer-friendly businesses and service centers is becoming rarer and rarer as the general population becomes crasser and ruder. It is tough being in a service industry today because end user expectation is so high.
    I admire companies like yours that take on all end users and treat them as best as possible.
    I am reminded of a good friend of mine in the computer business. He sells computers but makes his big money on the service contracts he sells to big companies to fix their computer systems.
    He told me his philosophy is to make himself “a pillow” when an end user or company comes at him with anger and barbs.
    He said it does nothing good for anyone for him to get nasty back or to bounce back that frustrated energy. He just takes it all in and lets their fury disappear within him.
    He has a great talent that is hard to master without letting it corrode you from the inside.

  3. This reminds me when I bought a bra last week and I took it back because it didn’t really fit me right under my clothes. They refused to take it back. Not because it had been “used” but because they said I was too fat to wear it!

  4. I should have just taken it back. I made the mistake of being honest. It’s a small shop in town and not a big chain store so not shopping there will have a little more impact than on a faceless conglomerate I guess. And I’m not fat!

  5. It doesn’t matter if you’re fat or not, you were not kindly treated and I’m sorry for that kind of negativity that was purged on you. You’re probably right that just taking it back without any details might have worked better. You’ll find a kinder experience next time somewhere else, I’m sure.