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The Customer Is Not Always Right

This is an article on the topic of philosophy in software, business, and life.

“The Customer is Always Right”

We hear this a lot in business, and perhaps our culture. Fundamentally and logically this is a true statement – the customer has the scarce and valued resource (money), and can choose to take that resource elsewhere (to another competitor) if you do not live up to their expectations or (worse yet as I will explore) demands.

The pitfall here is that this leads to a sense of entitlement, and customers will gear their attitude towards this assumption in how they treat the business in which they are (or considering) doing business.

In my view, this is a dangerous attitude or assumption to have, as this can lead to ill will being cast between the customer and the business representative. As I have stated, this is a “bad thing.” ™

Maybe It’s Not a Match

I think about this dynamic a lot. You can act like a petulant spoiled brat and try to coerce the business to get what you want, but is it really worth it? You’ve essentially spewed negative energy into the ether, and have not exactly provided any value yourself to the business you want to provide your money to in exchange for their product or service.

If you yourself are at your core a brat (or can be), then the business must also ask: is this the kind of customer I want to deal with to sustain my operations. The same can go for simple partnerships (e.g. joining a team on GitHub), as well.

So while we are taught that the customer is always right – and logically they indeed are – there are many times when they are exactly not that in the energy that they are transferring with others. Let’s please be mindful of this when we are talking to representatives of other companies in which we do business, but also with each other.