We love our consumers. Whether you are a multi billion-dollar industry or a desperate students selling random “stuff” on eBay, we all have our own level of consumer base, and we are instructed to LOVE them.
However, here is the unspoken or forbidden truth: Customers are NOT always right. There, I said it.
So why pretty much all of us fool ourselves into thinking Customers are always right?
Here are some self deluded reasons to think of:
- Stew Leonard’s ROCK (Come on! It is written on a Rock, so it must be placed next to the 10 commandments!)
- Management Classes (Because it is management it must be true!)
- Case Studies (Self explanatory. Someone is smart to do cases, so the content must be true. Duh!)
- Because it has been so!
- If we don’t Love them, then they will SUE us (True, they’ll and they’ll WIN)
Well, I stand with our late Steve Jobs and Henry Ford here (May their soul Rest In Peace):
“It’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”
— Steve Jobs
If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.
So one can envision me as the next Steve Jobs or Henry Ford, or as another highly opinionated person. The fact is this: I refuse to follow the HERD, so did Jobs and Ford.
Why I believe Customers can be so wrong sometimes:
- Customers are short sighted: They’ll buy anything under the sun that is CUTE
- Ego (Most customer conflicts come from: How can an organization tell me what to do? I Can never be wrong – I am a customer)
- Lack of responsibility
Consumers are right sometimes and wrong sometimes, but the propaganda of the notion that consumers are always right is hurting corporations (big and small alike) across our country. From a mere observation I could say that nasty Yelp! reviews have shut down many restaurants.
Corporations are the backbone for our economy. As consumers we demand respect, honesty and transparency from Corporations, it is only logical that we as consumers could extend Corporations the same courtesy. If we do, Corporations might truly enjoy valuing consumers and our economy.
Here is what consumers could do:
- Go to a company’s website to learn about what the company stands for and what it does. Don’t just go there to buy “stuff” and to write bad complaints
- If a product doesn’t work as advertised, try explaining the customer service agent about the challenges you face as a consumer towards the product in a pleasant way. Don’t yell louder than your puppy at customer service personnel.
- Educate yourself about the product. One cannot yell at others on account of one’s own incompetency.
Consumer innocence is not bliss and corporations are not nannies.
Here’s couple of links that might shed more light on why consumers are not always right!