by Mark Messing
It is nice to think we have complete control over every situation, and that we are the unquestioned experts in our personal areas of expertise. However, the demoralizing truth is that it is impossible to know everything. From time to time, no matter how hard we try, we mess things up and turn out to be *gasp* wrong. At least, I’m pretty sure that’s the case.
This is the reason why the saying the popular phrase “The customer is always right” can be so confusing. Even as customers, we know that could never be true. Taken in the most literal context, that saying is just plain unreasonable. Walking into a McDonalds on a sunny day and telling the cashier it’s snowing while ordering a yogurt parfait won’t make the weather change.
Even as customers, we realize we make mistakes. Sometimes we give 10’s instead of 20’s, and sometimes we ask for chocolate when we really mean cherry. And yet, it seems to me, that this basic human flaw shouldn’t take away from the fact that the customer is indeed always right, though that doesn’t mean we can’t be wrong from time to time.
Let me give you an example. Last Monday I got a call from my eye doctor’s office telling me I was late for an appointment I swear I could have scheduled for Tuesday. Now, if I’m being fair, there is no real way of knowing who made the mistake. But, there would have been an easy solution. If someone called me on Friday to tell me about my appointment, the Monday change wouldn’t have induced nearly as much panic.
In my mind, that puts the blame squarely on the shoulders of the doctors office. But they made it clear to me they didn’t feel that way. I got two or three sighs from the receptionist before I even gave her my name. Then, they started to complain about my insurance. Apparently, they meant to cancel that provider months ago because they don’t get enough money from them for each patient.
Again, this is something that I should not have to worry about, but I was still reminded 4 or 5 times about how cheap my insurance company was. At this point, I could tell I was nothing more than a burden to my eye doctor, who would later brag about a Mercedes he was about to get.
No one I pay any amount of money to should make me feel like a burden. I think that is what is meant by the “customer = right” saying. I should not have to feel bad because of the insurance provider I have. If they had that big of a problem with it, they should have taken them off their list of providers long ago. And while it’s a concept that won’t exactly change the weather, it is certainly the difference between being good and being great.