Who Coined the Phrase “The Customer Is Always Right”?

“The customer is always right” originated as a MARKETING SLOGAN and nothing more

Who Coined the Phrase “The Customer Is Always Right”?

Perhaps the most quoted phrase about customer service is “the customer is always right”. Unfortunately, not only is it a rather meaningless expression, but it’s lead to blind following of an idea that is both misguided and inaccurate. Where did it come from?

To quote from Perfect Phrases for Performance For Customer Service from the section entitled “First Things First — Dispelling an Important Customer Service Myth“:

We need to address the single most popular false idea bout customer service. No doubt you’ve heard the phrase, “The customer is always right.” It’s a great slogan, credited to H. Gordon Selfridge, who passed a way in 1947. Mr. Selfridge was one of the earlier successful retailers (initially in England), who later fell upon hard times. Unfortunately, it’s wrong and misleading.

So, what’s a better perspective. From the same chapter:

  • The customer always deserves to be treated as if he or she is important and his or her opinions, needs, and wants are worth listening to.
  • The customer deserves to receive maximum effort on the part of those serving him or her, even when the customer’s expectations, wants and needs may be impractical.

Author: Robert Bacal

Leave a Reply