Is The Customer Always Right?

In a recent interview with Smart Business, the president of Ka Architecture, James B. Heller, pointed out that there are clearly times when the company needs be loyal and side with its employees during a customer-related issue. During the interview, Heller reflected on one particular situation in which an architect had a customer was extremely unhappy with him and was disgruntled. Instead of disciplining the employee, Heller supported the architect’s view of the situation and personally helped him to work out the conflict with the client, thus strengthening both the customer’s and the employee’s loyalty at the same time.

Here is how Heller recommends how organizations should consider approaching this type of scenario:

“Typically, I might get a call from a client who identifies a concern. They say, “This is happening on this particular project.” There’s a problem there, whatever it might be. One pitfall is to too quickly jump on that particular project manager and always side with the client. The typical comment, “The client is always right” — well, don’t fall into that trap. Have a face-to-face conversation with that staff person. Understand there are always two sides to every story, and work with that person to solve the problem. Don’t jump down on that person.”

What do you think of this approach. Can you think of an example in which the company applied a similar approach in order to strengthen engagement?

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