The Customer Is ALWAYS Right

IT Business

There is much debate over “the customer is always right” saying that a lot of big companies are currently rethinking to avoid their staff being abused by irate customer base. The best of the objections to the saying come from the CEO of SouthWest, who quoted an example of a customer “… demanding a free flight to Paris because we ran out of peanuts.”

There is a much simpler middle of the ground rationalization between meeting and exceeding the customers expectations and understanding when the demands are just unfair. We use one of those at Own Web Now:

The customer is always right.

Not every customer is right for us.

To me, that is the fairest possible way to treat my employees and my clients. Not every customer is right for us. Not every partner is right for us. My job is to determine which partners do not have our best interest at heart (and are instead looking to make a purchase from a wholesaler) and are not looking for a partnership. However, when we do go into an agreement, it is everyone’s job to meet and/or exceed the partners expectations. When we don’t, it is ultimately my responsibility to make an apology, refund, letter, phone call.

It’s all in the criteria

Just like hiring and firing have to follow some contracts and laws, so should the process of deciding whether you take on someone’s business or not. It should be fair, and it should be universally applied without exceptions. When you start to create special cases, expectations, limitations and variables that can shift a lot during the deliverable, things go wrong. And nearly always in a way that is unfair to both. Here is ours, that we naturally do not share up front because we don’t want it shot back in the first person affirmative:

Own Web Now looks to partner with IT Solution Providers that are building businesses that want to offer complex data center solutions, hosting services, enterprise-class management and maintenance but do not look to make an exclusive line of business within their company.

Just like you would pull a background check on a job candidate, call their previous employers, conduct interviews and look at experience, you should also look at the business prospect. Credit checks, yellow page listings, business data checks.

I pull up the web page. I pick up the phone and call someone in the area and ask them about a particular person. I look at their presence in the community, at their technical abilities. If I don’t see someone that has their game together, that is looking to grow their business, that is a builder, why should I waste my time/resources on them? If they can’t sell themselves, how can they sell me? Or even worse, how poorly would it reflect on me if they did sell my services and when customer called them back got the Bobs Horse Manure & Managed Services shop, sorry daddy is in Jail right now, he’ll be back in 6 months. No way!

Sometimes you make mistakes

The point of the section above is that you should be careful about how and who you work with. Do your due dilligence. Truth is, during the course of Monday-Friday there are a lot of people that would love to give you their money. Does that money go towards work and towards the goals that you have in your business? If not, and you still take that money, how much do you risk in the opportunity to actually put your business on the course it should take?

I ask myself the above all the time because the temptation of cash in hand is always great.

However, if you are building a business on the premise that the customer is always right, and you are going to work your hardest and go above and beyond for them, you might want to think up front just how dedicated you will be to this cash when things turn sour. If you are going to be in a bigger mess down the road, even potentially, it may pay more to just take a pass.

It is much easier to just let it go, than to have to deal with the firing. Employees, partners, opportunities and clients alike.