In business, the mantra is…and has always been…the customer is always right. The mentality had been built on years of competitive stressors that have forced sellers to bend to the will of buyers in order to grow and maintain business. As consumers, we benefit from the notion that we are never wrong, and in recent years have been encouraged to flaunt this advantage to get our way. After all, a whimpering economy has made many sellers soft. Choosing to avoid conflict and the potential loss of a client is now seen as the right road to take, and if you complain long and loud enough, things will likely go your way.
Social media, with all that it’s done to advance the human experience, has given consumers another weapon…the under-regulated and nearly unconditional ability to defame any business, without fear of consequence. Many consumer “tools” have become available, essentially creating an unrestricted stage for disgruntled customers to vent their frustrations.
Now…let’s be clear…these are not necessarily bad things. A company that doesn’t supply a customer with the product or service they expect should be accountable. However, there should be limits to that accountability, based on the severity of the issue and the effort the seller makes to correct the situation.
In the limousine business, we experience bumps in the road, just like any other business. We are a business of people and machines, fallible to be sure, and subject to many forces beyond our control. However, should a car running five minutes late for a pickup warrant a free ride for the client? Doubtful, although some sort of accommodation should be made to compensate the client for the inconvenience.
Perhaps our view of service providers is based somewhat on our appreciation for people in general. Those that feel, or have been taught to think that they are above others will probably look for flaws in everything from the service they receive to the money they pay for it. There are some that feel EVERYONE should work as a waitperson or bartender at some point in their lives, just to get an appreciation for how it feels to serve other people. It will also give a behind the scenes look at how people need to adjust their thinking when they work for tips.
Rambling done, here is the point I’m trying to make…The customer is NOT always right. I can say this because I AM a customer, and I know I’ve been wrong a few times. Service providers will make mistakes just like everyone else.