We’ve all heard the saying ‘the customer is always right’. However, the only reason they are in your shop is that they want to acquire something. Unfortunately, they don’t care if you have six starving children to support in your 1 room shack. Not really. The customer is more concerned about acquiring things to fill their needs. It is your job to serve them – to make them happy. Treating them as ‘always right’ will make them happy, but believing that they are always right will not make you happy!
With that in mind, here are 6 specific occasions that a customer is NOT right;
They ask for something but don’t know or can’t know the best solution for their needs
Henry Ford is credited with the quote “if I had asked my customers what they wanted, they would have told me ‘a faster horse’. A customer can only desire something that compares to what they already know. You may need to explain or present an innovative concept to your customers.
When they try to conceal their ignorance
We hate to tell you, but your customers may be lying. Do you ask “Is there anything more we can help you with today?” Mostly the response will be No thanks. The no is easier – it might be they’re in a hurry, they might want something more but aren’t certain you can help.
They don’t want to disrupt, to waste time, to be thought of as stupid. So they lie and say everything is fine.
When their expectations are irrational
Every retailer has them – the irrational customer who needed the goods yesterday, the one who want you to price match your designer watches to the cheap knockoff from China…
They are difficult customers because they are often emotional and your thinking ends up hazy while dealing with them. The secret: Step back and look at it in perspective. Is it worth pandering to this person to get them out of the shop? Should I stick to my guns?
You are the only one who can decide in each circumstance – but if you remember that the demand is not rational in the first place, you may find it easier to say no.
When they want to buy something you can’t sell them
It’s remarkable what people ask for, sometimes. While it’s great to make a customer happy, if they come into your store and ask for something completely irrelevant to your range, there’s no reason you should fulfil their request.
Send them to the correct place if you know where they should go, or offer to google it for them. Resist the temptation to make a sale – they will come back for the same thing again and you will be forced to source it again, eventually taking your focus off your target market.
When they become aggressive
A disgruntled customer may be rightly upset, but when they turn aggressive they are immediately ‘not right’. Attempt to placate grievances if possible but don’t allow a customer to take advantage of your aim to please.
If a customer is violent or out of control, you should immediately contact security, emergency services and/or your supervisor.
When they abuse return policies
A small percentage of people will take advantage of your generous return policies. They will return clothes that they’ve worn with the tags attached. They will complain regularly, to get refunds. They will waste your time and money, and sometimes it’s better to let them go.
You may need to be stricter when you make sales, and there are even times when you may have to gently inform them that perhaps they should shop elsewhere.
The customer is the reason your store exists. But when the customer starts to impose upon your existence, or the existence of your store they aren’t as important as you are. Do you have any suggestions on how to treat a customer who isn’t right? Comment below!