The Customer is NOT Always Right

January 3, 2010

Hope everyone is having a great New Year so far…

One of the main reasons I chose management excellence for my personal value is that I have seen that my employees put up with unruly patients time and time again. I recently read a blog post by Alexander Kjerulf entitled “Top 5 reasons why “The Customer Is Always Right” is wrong”. I found it enlightening.

Don’t get me wrong. I understand the value of keeping the front doors open. I want to keep my patients happy and healthy by giving them the highest standard of care that I can. However, I also want my employees to enjoy coming to work every day. Just because patients keep their appointments and pay on time, they do not have a right to verbally harass anyone in my office.

Case in Point: My employee should be able to come to work and not be asked out on a date five times while they are trying to clean their patient’s teeth. This creates an uncomfortable setting for my employee, who now can no longer concentrate on doing a good job, but is now concentrating on saying the wrong thing to the patient and giving him the wrong impression.

This puts managers in an uncomfortable position as well. First, I have to determine whether my employee has a valid complaint, and after speaking with her I could tell that she did. Then, I have to decide if it is time to dismiss the patient from the practice. That can be as hard as having to fire someone. It is my responsibility to be an advocate for my employees. It is abusive, neglectful, management on my part to allow this patient to return to my office and essentially harass my employee.

I dismissed the patient from the practice. I value my employee’s performance, work ethic, and standard of care much more than the revenue generated from that one patient. Not only did I demonstrate to her that she has a right to work in a non-hostile environment, but that I would support that right. I have also protected the practice and myself from a lawsuit.

This is a clear case that the customer is not always right. I am proud of myself for the decision I made and know that it was the right one because I do not question it. We as managers need remember that our employees are just as valuable as the customers that walk in the doors.


5 Responses to “The Customer is NOT Always Right”

  1. sharonmarkovsky Says:

    Great blog!

  2. kristensimsek Says:

    Sometimes it is really amazing that the situations we find ourselves experiencing in the workplace wouldn’t even be acceptable in social situations. What makes a truly great manager is the ability to handle those kinds of situations to make our employees and team members feel comfortable. Great job on dismissing the patient and showing your employee the respect they deserve!

    Kristen Simsek

  3. Kristen,

    I agree. I never expected to encounter this type of uncomfortable situation at work! Thank you for your comment!


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