We were famously told “The customer is always right” by Harry Gordon Selfridge and this phrase is typically used by Hotels to Attract Customers to the Hotel and Convince Hoteliers to always give their Customers good service (read on or watch the video).
However, I think Hotels should abandon this phrase – ironically because it leads to bad customer service. It is simply a matter of respect and dignity and treating your employees correctly.
Here is why “The customer is always right” and its’ French equivalent “le client n’a jamais tort” (the customer is never wrong) are simply wrong.
When we run into Hotel Guests that we can’t satisfy, our loyalty should be with our employees. You must employ good staff in the first instance and then value your employees.
When it’s a choice between supporting your employees, who work with you every day and look after your Hotel, or pronouncing “der Kunde ist König” (the customer is king), a variation frequently used in Germany, whose side are you going to be on?
You must trust your people over any unreasonable Hotel Guests.
Using the slogan “The customer is always right” or the Japanese motto “okyakusama wa kamisama desu” (お客様は神様です), meaning “the customer is a god”, simply makes the Hotel Workers’ job that much harder, meaning that abusive people get better treatment and conditions than your nice people.
That has always seemed so wrong to me, and it makes much more sense to be nice, just to the nice customers and workers, to keep them coming back. Some Hotels think that “the more customers the better”. But some customers are quite simply bad for Hotels.
In Hotels when you put your nice employees first, they put the customers first. Put employees first, and they will be happy at work. Employees who are happy at work simply give better customer service because they have more energy and are more motivated.
On the other hand, if the Hotel and Hotel Managers were not to do this and consistently side with all customers instead of with nice employees, it sends a clear message that Hotel Employees are not valued and that employees must put up with everything from Hotel customers.
When this attitude prevails, employees stop caring about service. At that point, real good service is almost impossible – the best customers can hope for is fake good service. You know the kind I mean – courteous on the surface only.
The fact is that some customers are just plain wrong, that Hotels are better off without them, and that Hotel Managers siding with unreasonable customers over their nice employees is a very bad idea, that results in worse customer service.
So simply put “the customer is not always right”. Put your nice people first. And watch them put the Hotel Customers first.