Friday, September 16, 2011
weekend reflection: The customer is always right
In 1908 César Ritz (1850-1918), the celebrated French hotelier is credited with saying 'Le client n'a jamais tort' - 'The customer is never wrong'. That's not the phrase that people now remember, but it can hardly be said to be any different in meaning to 'the customer is always right'.
In the 1970s, I went to universities in Canada and New Zealand. My then management lecturers stressed the importance of "The customer is always right." Even if he wasn't, you still treated him with tact.
That is part of my work philosophy. However, this is not the case with many. Recently, I was victim to a civil servant and her office who behaved as though they were the civil BOSS and they were not there to serve in their appointed capacity. They were rude and arrogant and ignorant. After visits to the office, telephone call and flurries of email, I was so frustrated that I wrote to the man in the highest office. Only then, I got the matter resolved and an apology. They could have saved themselves a lot of trouble if only they were more diligent and humble. In fact, if they had persisted in their attitude, I was prepared to write to the highest office of the land. This reflected how angry I was.
Have you encountered similar aggravating situations?
Photos show a little reflection on the window of the Old Arts Building of the Auckland University. I spent many a winter shivering in the cold because it was very cold.