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The Customer Is NOT Always Right!

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Frustrated male employee discussing contract details over the phone. He is looking at documents in his laptop, holding phone, fling arms in an angry gesture, trying to find solution.

By Drew Crandall, Co-Chair, CalledToWork.org

COMMENTARY: Paul was a great man of God, full of the Holy Spirit. On the one hand, he was gracious and patient; on the other hand, he wasn’t afraid to draw a line in the sand with bullies and brutes who twisted or resisted the Truth, or with saints who strayed from the Truth.

A bully is someone who hurts or intimidates weaker or smaller people. A brute is a harsh, miserable person. Such behavior does not come from the Holy Spirit, which is why Paul equated such behavior with men who have no faith in 2nd Thessalonians 3:2 – “And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men…”

APPLICATION: In today’s culture, there’s a common mantra that disturbs me: the customer is always right. I’ve been in customer service, sales and marketing for 50 years, and I can tell you this mantra is NOT true. IT IS FALSE. In fact, this mantra can be dangerous, because it can set you up to be willfully abused by customers. In the end, you’ll enable customers to continue their unreasonable, manipulative and arrogant behavior and spread it to others. The truth is, no one is “always right” except for the Lord.

There will be times when the Holy Spirit gives you the insight and courage to draw your line in the sand with unreasonable customers. From my personal experience, here are two ways to handle them:

WITHDRAW FROM THEM: Paul did in 2 Thessalonians 3:2-15, Ephesians 5:1-7, Romans 16:17-18 and Mark 6:11. Withdraw means retract from participation. Don’t be in held hostage out of fear. You are not a doormat. Move on and trust God to provide you with better customers.  

REBUKE OR REPROVE THEM: Paul did in Ephesians 5:11-12, Titus 1:11- 13, Titus 2:15 and Galatians 2:11-14. Rebuke means reprimand or admonish. Their knee-jerk reaction may be shock, but sometimes that’s just what they need to see themselves for who they are. If they choose not to do business with you, fine; you are free from their manipulation. If they choose to do business, they’ll probably respect you more than they did before, and may actually turn out to be good, long-time customers!  

Drew Crandall has strong New Jersey roots. He spent five formative years of his childhood in Somerset. Since 2001, he has served as Co-Chair of Called To Work, a workplace ministry originally based at Rutgers Community Christian Church in Somerset. Called To Work has since grown into a nationwide ministry. Please see www.CalledToWork.org for details.