The Customer Is NOT Always Right

The customer is sometimes dead wrong. Let me explain.

The idea that “the customer is always right” is good and useful, within its proper context. When you’re dealing with a good customer, one who brings profit to your business, who doesn’t cost you time, money, and energy, it’s good to take an accommodating attitude. If you have a profitable customer, and you want to have them remain a customer, it’s often prudent to give them concessions on requests or complaints.

But as you know, not every customer is profitable.

Some customers have unreasonable expectations of you and your company. Some customers will never be happy or satisfied, until they win some sort of “superiority position” in your relationship that allows them to take advantage of you.

Now you may feel that this idea-the idea that some customers are not worth keeping-is not very kind. You may feel that it is a violation of the Golden rule, for instance. But think of it this way…

If you permit a customer to actually cost you money in order to do business with them-in other words, if for every hundred dollars the customer spends with you, you must spend $200 to keep them happy-how long will you be in business?

What if all your customers were like that?

The answer is, you wouldn’t be in business very long. You would quickly be bankrupt, once your capital had run out.

So clearly some customers are not right.

I’m not suggesting you take a hard-nosed, unsympathetic, unkind approach to business. If you are providing valuable goods and services to the marketplace, the kindest thing you can do is to remain in business. The only way you can do that is to continue to generate profits. And to continue generating the most amount of profits possible, so that you may render the most service to the marketplace possible, you must be able to identify customers that do not belong in a business relationship with you.

Perhaps they do belong in a business relationship with someone else, or they need to learn how to do business properly.

It may or may not be your task to teach some of your customers how to do business properly. I leave that to you to decide.

My goal here is to simply raise your awareness that the customer is not always right. However, the right customer is always good for your business.

Something to think about: how can you attract, do business with, and stay in  relationship with more of the “right customers”?

Ray Edwards is a world-renowned copywriter and communications strategist, writing for some of the most powerful voices in leadership and business including New York Times bestselling authors Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen (Chicken Soup for the Soul) and Tony Robbins. Ray is a sought-after speaker and author, hosts a popular weekly podcast, and blogs at