The customer is always right, except for when they aren’t. Sometimes the customer isn’t right. How then do we handle that interaction?
Educate the customer. Sometimes in the interaction the customer truly thinks they are right. The problem, however, is that they aren’t, and they need to be kindly educated on what is correct in the situation. Years ago, a disgruntled customer at a produce stand wanted a refund because the fresh fruit she bought went bad a week after her purchase. The owner politely offered a refund along with an explanation that her stand produce is not to last a week but should instead be eaten within hours or days. Was the customer right? No. Will they understand better the next time. Hopefully yes.
Support your employees. At times, certain customers may just seem to demand more from your employees than others. Your employees may be trying to save each customer at their own, or the company’s detriment. Is this really worth it? It depends. When the customer’s desire to be right becomes harmful, threatening or even degrading, it is necessary to take control of these situations on your employee’s behalf. This can occur through observations of your employees being burnt out or even leaving in high numbers. It can also occur through your employees simply asking for your help and support in certain situations.
Provide proper training. Through all of this, do your employees know how to properly handle situations where the customer isn’t right? You can’t assume your customers know how to manage such a customer, but that isn’t always the case. Instead, it’s important to incorporate training sessions to educate and empower your own employees. This training should be not only at their job onboarding but also continual through their employment with you.
What does this training focus on? It should highlight empathy toward the customer as well as initially looking into the customer’s complaint or problem. If the customer is indeed wrong, it is best for your employee to gently explain their error with kindness. Hopefully the customer will accept this and the interaction will end well. That, of course, is an ideal situation. We all know that, at times, this will instead lead the customer to express further emotions, demands that they are still correct or even display inappropriate behavior. This is where your employee needs to be empowered to reach out to their direct supervisor or even you to further aid the customer experience. It’s an interaction that may further aid in protecting your brand, your employees and your customers.