The customer is always right.
We’ve heard it time and time again, and this small phrase is the crux of any great customer-facing service.
While the phrase does not literally mean the customer is ALWAYS right, it means that brands must focus on delivering an exceptional customer experience and great service. It’s about helping customers with any issue and finding a reasonable solution.
The phrase has been around for quite some time, but it has taken on an entirely different meaning in our modern digital age.
The global pandemic has only illuminated the need for a customer-first approach and impeccable service, but it’s also demonstrated just how challenging it can be to do remotely.
What Does the Phrase Mean?
“The customer is always right” is a longstanding phrase that’s been used by key retailers like Marshall Field. However, the idea isn’t limited to the U.S. Similar slogans have been found around the world.
One huge complaint about the phrase is that it allows customers to get away with rude and outrageous behavior. It’s crucial to remember that the phrase is not literal. There are times when a customer did not read your return policy before buying or bought an incorrect product. Technically, they may not be “right” but the key is to help make things right. The purpose of this phrase is to pay attention to customers and work to improve their experience.
This approach does not mean customers are above or more important than your employees. To align with this mentality, you should also treat your employees as well as customers. You should empower employees with the necessary resources to deliver streamlined customer service.
The Impact of the Digital Age
In an in-person retail setting, it’s pretty easy to see when a customer is confused, agitated, or upset. It can be a bit more simple to diffuse a situation or offer solutions when talking face to face. We are now heavily immersed in a digital environment, with many interactions happening online.
In the digital age, you must take the extra step to understand your customers’ challenges.
Taking accountability for the customer experience is crucial. If a customer complains about a product or service that you realize they did not set up properly, think about ways you could improve the instructions or onboarding.
Every business is unique, but here are some ways to uphold “the customer is always right” in the digital space:
You must be where your customers are. Customers want to be able to easily reach you on their preferred channels. Offer as many points of access as possible. Phone and email are still staples, but customers are also looking to reach out via social media, chatbot, and more. Making yourself available where your customers are will give you the opportunity to improve their experience and prevent negative experiences.
Never lose sight of your customer for the sake of scale. Customers want to feel seen and important. Delivering a personalized experience helps you to avoid repeated messages and to ensure an optimal process for your customers.
Customer data is crucial for your ability to personalize an experience. Ensure that your team has visibility of customer data and important information. This way, you can not only personalize marketing efforts but can also spot key trends across your customer base.
Empower your employees to deliver a conversational experience to your customers. Marketing, customer service, etc should be a two-way street. Don’t talk AT your customers, talk with them. Get to know them, engage with them, and be personable.
Your brand should look and feel the same to customers across all platforms. Whether a customer sees you on Amazon, eBay, your Shopify store, or social media, your brand image should be consistent. Customers want to feel like they are always shopping with you, no matter where the interaction takes place.
How to Do it Right
Ultimately, you must dedicate the time to “the customer is always right.” You’ll have to spend time getting to know your customers collectively and individually, incorporating their feedback into actionable change, and communicating across their preferred channels. There’s no way around it, you have to make this mindset a priority.
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