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The customer is always right

  • The customer is always right is an aphorism, that is a short, common saying that can serve as a shorthand for conveying an idea. The customer is always right can not be considered a proverb, as it is not a universally acknowledged truth. Speakers of English as a second language are sometimes confused by these expressions as translations from English to other languages do not carry the impact that the English phrases carry.  We will examine the meaning of the phrase the customer is always right, where it came from, and some examples of its use in sentences.


     

    The customer is always right means that the needs and desires of the customer are always paramount. The implication is that even if the customer is in the wrong, customer care and the customer’s happiness is the most important goal. The phrase the customer is always right was coined by Marshall Field, a retailer who founded a famous department store in Chicago, Illinois in 1852. The customer is always right is a slogan that came into use around the turn of the twentieth century. H. Gordon Selfridge, who once worked for Field, brought the slogan to England soon after when he founded a department store there. Interestingly, at about the same time, Frenchman César Ritz coined the phrase Le client n’a jamais tort, which translates as “the customer is never wrong”. Of course, the customer is often wrong in what he expects or where he puts blame. However, the slogan the customer is always right is still often quoted to exhort retailers to put customer satisfaction above all other goals. Good customer care by retailers who go above and beyond delivering good customer service build a good customer relationship, customer loyalty, and retention of loyal customers for their product or service.

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    Examples

    The customer is always right, he’s always going to be right, and we are always going to back up the customer(National Hog Farmer Magazine)

    From “the customer is always right” to “service with a smile,” consumers are looking for brands that go the extra mile.  (Forbes Magazine)

    “I felt like I was violated as a customer ’cause the customer is always right,” he said.  (Newsweek Magazine)


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