Here’s my definitive answer to the inevitable question, “Is the customer always right?”
No. The customer isn’t always right. But you want to make her feel like she is.
“Right” and “wrong,” even in situations much more crucial than a mere customer service misunderstanding, are hard to sort out. Think of the sworn – but completely misremembered – eyewitness testimony that has convicted so many innocent men and women.
So in working with customers, your goal needs to be the polar opposite of trying to play Sherlock Holmes, by and large*. It’s not your goal to make it clear to the customer how inaccurate their position is. Instead, focus on putting yourself in your customer’s shoes, their eyes in your sockets, until you understand why they feel, and in fact “are,” “right.” And make them feel good about it.
They’re your customer, after all.
*Are there exceptions? Absolutely. Including safety and health-related scenarios, where sorting out the facts matters more than anything else. And expensive, ongoing B2B situations where there are disagreements on details of contracts that truly need to be resolved in a factual manner. Though even in such situations, there likely are gracious ways to demonstrate your factual correctness without proving the other party baldly “wrong.”
Micah Solomon is a customer service consultant and a customer experience speaker, trainer, seminar leader, and bestselling author.