Great Expectations

We have always been told the customer is always right. Of course they are, aren’t they? They’re paying for a service after all. But I begin to question if this is always the case?

The phrase “The customer is always right” was originally coined by Harry Gordon Selfridge, of Selfridge’s way back in 1909. The slogan was given to staff in order to drive a high priority to customer satisfaction. It seems a little strange to me that with all of the change in the last few years, let alone the last few decades, we still cling to a notion of a time long since forgotten.

I begin to lean the other way – perhaps the customer is sometimes wrong …if not occasionally misinformed. Naturally I’m not saying we shouldn’t give them a version of what they envision, but isn’t this the case in point? Does the client really know exactly what they want or even what they need? Surely if they did, wouldn’t they endeavor to do it all themselves? Maybe this enforces the true value of knowledge and experience, leaving me to question: if you only ever give someone what they want, how can you ever exceed their expectations? ‘Satisfied’ suddenly becomes inadequate.

This is our job. Our responsibility. We are to extract the very notion out of our client’s head, to grab their original idea and build on it. We are tasked with taking the great and making it greater; reworking, elaborating and reconfiguring into something new, fresh and more exciting. I believe that this is where the true advantage of our services and skill becomes quite apparent, cementing customer relationships, ensuring longevity through mutual success.

But by design we soon discover that ‘we’, the agency, are actually the ones who are often ‘right’ or at least learned enough to offer the best advice. With our well-constructed thoughts and strategies on offer, supplemented by years of experience and a wealth of combined skills, we have nurtured and encouraged our craft becoming the ‘experts’. We take pride in absorbing the finer points from our clients and their market – analysing and honing in on each and every detail regarding their product, service, brand and philosophy – not to mention bonding and building relationships along the way. Combine all of this with our core pillars and you have a very powerful skill set and service on offer.

But when all’s said and done perhaps I may be encouraged to take a change of heart, of course the customer is always right! They are always right to entrust the experts.

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