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The Customer Is Always Right

· Communication,Expectations,Customer Service,Conflict

Harry Gordon Selfridge was an American businessman who moved to London to establish one of their finest department stores in the early 1900s, known as Selfridges & Co. and it is still in existence today. Harry was responsible for coining the phrase, “The customer is always right.” His intention was probably to emphasize that his employees were there to serve their customers and make those customers happy regardless.

Last month, we had a two-night stay for four in our family, staying in two rooms. The property had some renovations but the mattresses were quite worn and were past due for replacement. Two nights of poor sleep left us less than refreshed. When I arrived home, I made some comments about our experience on the hotel chain' s "contact us" page and my message was sent directly to that hotel. On the same day, I received an apology from the Assistant General Manager stating that the mattress replacement was scheduled and that a courtesy refund would be applied. A few minutes later, I was blown away. Expecting either some loyalty points for the brand or perhaps a small amount taken off from each of the two bills, or maybe even a refund of half (one night per room), I was amazed. We were credited the entire stay for both rooms including some snacks charged to them. Talk about doing right by your customer. While this didn't change the experience that we had, the credit amounting in nearly $1200 was greatly appreciated. While we are not likely to ever stay at that property again, it left us with a feeling of loyalty to the brand.

"When a customer complains, he is doing you a special favor; he is giving you another chance to serve him to his satisfaction. You will appreciate the importance of this opportunity when you consider that the customer's alternative option was to desert you for a competitor."

– Seymour Fine