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The Customer Is Always Right… Until They Are Not




The Customer Is Always Right… Until They Are Not

Customers can be a tricky lot to deal with.

Your business needs them to survive. Yet, we’ve all dealt with individual customers who simply aren’t worth the effort. (The advent of social media certainly hasn’t made difficult customers any easier to deal with!)

So we asked our Brain Squad how they regard their clientele.

The customer always right… no exceptions.

The old adage was coined more than a century ago, commonly attributed to Harry Gordon Selfridge. (The phrase, actually, had a few early pioneers.) The answer for decades was yes. But that seems to have fallen out of favor. Even the U.S. Chamber of Commerce says that the short answer is no.


You’ll still find adherents to this, though. About 10% of our Brain Squaders are.

The Customer Is Always Right… Until They Are Not

The customer always right… until they are not.

This speaks to a more nuanced interpretation. And this is where the vast majority – 85 % – of our respondents landed.

From the career website Indeed:

“An updated, modern interpretation of ‘The customer is always right’ highlights the importance of listening to customers, understanding what they’re saying, identifying what they need and treating them with respect.”


The customer comes here because we let them.

We can appreciate the bold attitude embraced by 5% of our Brain Squad members.

Maybe they are being cheeky. Maybe they are being impassive. Either way, they’ll need to stop by Stepping Stone Café the next time they come through Portland, OR.

A customer? I’ll be in the back room.

Not unsurprisingly, this response was given the cold shoulder.

Our Brain Squad members all are above average eyecare professionals. (Documented.) Even those who may be less outgoing, embrace the need to interact with customers.


Coming Up Next

Next week we’ll investigate the survey responses from a related prompt about customers: Share a story about a time you went above and beyond to ensure a customer left your practice happy.

This is online-only content not found in the print magazine.

As for the print edition, look for the results of another related question from the most recent survey: DO YOU, DON’T YOU? As an ECP, do you find terms like “industry,” “shop” and “customers” inappropriate, inaccurate or a turnoff in relation to describing what you do for a living?

The responses may surprise you.

Join the Squad

We are always looking for new voices to join in on the fun. Not to mention, there’s a handful of Brain Squad members out there we miss hearing from.

Everyone is welcome and encouraged to participate!

What’s the Brain Squad?

If you’re the owner or top manager of a U.S. eyecare business serving the public, you’re invited to join the INVISION Brain Squad. By taking one five-minute quiz a month, you can get a free T-shirt, be featured prominently in our magazine, and make your voice heard on key issues affecting eyecare professionals. Good deal, right? Sign up here.


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