Here is an interesting point to consider: The customer is not always right. Despite the age-old adage, you are undoubtedly aware that sometimes your customers are completely in the wrong. Knowing what to do if your customer is wrong is important. Whatever they are complaining about – your service, your product, or how you have treated them – it’s only natural that your first impulse is to become defensive. However, it is crucial to harness that instinct. Redirecting the narrative to “it’s not us, it’s you” would be an entirely fruitless approach. How you navigate these situations will determine whether you will cement the relationship you have established with your client or customer or break it. 

When such situations occur, you sometimes may need to swallow your pride. It does not imply you should belittle yourself. But it does mean that you should not react impulsively. Work with the customer and try to either mend the issue, work toward altering their perception of the issue, or ultimately direct them to another company. While doing so, it is imperative to remain tactful at all times. And there are ways to handle such conversations courteously and diplomatically. 

Treat your customers with respect even when they are wrong.

Treat your customers with respect even when they are wrong

More and more, we expect to get precisely what we want at the exact time we want it. Any deviation from these desires can cause dissatisfaction and even conflicts. However, through all possible channels, clear communication is paramount and can prevent, even resolve, many such issues. Therefore, any time you begin cooperation with a client or customer, make sure you communicate clearly and openly. Also, all the processes and information on your website and the agreements you sign should be clear, precise, and to the point. Finally, it is necessary to repeatedly reinforce the procedures, terms, and vital information verbally.

So, when there is an issue, before reacting, assume that your customer didn’t pay close attention to what you explained before. Be ready to repeat everything and do so kindly, calmly, compassionately, and with professionalism. Don’t allow your emotions and frustration to get the best of you.

Furthermore, modern times have offered us a chance to deal with customer complaints in a way that will almost entirely eliminate the possibility of impulsive reactions. Chat rooms for customer support on your website are an excellent solution that allow easy communication and ensure a bit more time to come up with appropriate responses and solutions.

Acknowledge the difference between making the customer wrong and the customer being wrong.

Acknowledge the difference between making the customer wrong and the customer being wrongAcknowledge the difference between making the customer wrong and the customer being wrong

Although the wording sounds and looks pretty similar, there is a significant difference between your customer being in the wrong and you making them wrong.

Misunderstandings happen and if a customer makes an incorrect assumption concerning something they have expected from you, keep criticism to yourself. Nobody appreciates their mistakes being pointed out to them in such an unconstructive way. So, do a better job and provide better answers, better explanations, and better guidance. Ultimately, the customer doesn’t have to be right for you to treat them right. 

Listen to what your customer has to say.

Allow for error

Dealing with an irate customer is not a pleasant situation. However, the way you handle it will dictate how the communication progresses. When a customer calls with a complaint, ask them to share the problem with you. As they speak, listen attentively and don’t interrupt; wait until they have finished. Then rephrase what they have said to check if you have understood it well.

Always show empathy, even if your customer is wrong.

Always show empathy, even if your customer is wrong

Once you are confident that you understand the issue, you need to empathize with the customer. While you may disagree and think the customer is completely wrong, you must realize that their perception of the problem is their reality. Emotional intelligence plays a crucial role here. It will allow you to acknowledge the customer’s frustration, even if you cannot comprehend or accept the reason behind it.

Therefore, highly developed emotional intelligence is one of the elemental qualities of a good leader. It allows you to manage the situation well and influence the customer’s reality. You need to listen, validate, and empathize. Only in that way can you resolve a problem and defuse the situation. This is where understanding your Everything DiSC® behavioral style and that of your customer is essential. Everything DiSC® Sales is a tool for creating a unique strategy for every individual customer. With a little practice, this can be applied instantaneously in customer conversations. Check out the Everything DiSC® Sales Customer Interaction Map.

Offer a compromise.

Offer a compromise

The customer may not always be right, but you can usually find a way to make them satisfied. No matter how stubborn a client may be, and no matter how challenging it is to come to a compromise, trust that it may always possible to create a satisfactory solution. Perhaps it will be necessary to present several alternative scenarios and explain your vision in detail for your customer to comprehend the difference and for you to alter their perceptions.


Offer an alternative.

Offer an alternative

So, even when the change of the customer’s perception is impossible, a compromising or an alternative solution will be a satisfying one. This is where the prevalent phrase “the customer is always right” comes to play. Even if they are not right, this sentence reminds us that as service or product providers, it is our job to consider the customer’s needs. So, even when what the customer needs is not something you can provide, you can think of an alternate suggestion. Ultimately, you can direct them to a different provider but do so kindly and respectfully.

With customer support, there is always room for improvement.

With customer support, there is always room for improvement

Whenever there is an issue with a client, you should perceive it as an opportunity for improvement. Even if your customer is wrong, you can learn a lot from that experience. Ask what has led them to their conclusions. You need to understand what is behind their requests because perhaps you haven’t made something clear enough. So, even if the customer has made a flawed assumption, maybe you are the one who led them down the wrong path.

There is always something proactive and positive to do if your customer is wrong. Even if the relationship ends, you can draw conclusions from your experience, implement changes, and improve your operations. 

At PBC, we have helped build the capabilities of many customer service teams. Some of our programs are also listed on the Massachusetts Workforce Training Fund site, where Massachusetts employers a receive 50% grant from the State. Click here and search for Professional Business Coaches for more information or make an appointment to discuss opportunities to make your team world-class.

Click here to set up a 15-minute phone call with us

Connect with us on social media and be part of the dialog.

Like us on Facebook
View our LinkedIn profile
Follow us on Twitter
Subscribe to our blog
Subscribe to our YouTube Channel
Subscribe to our Vimeo Channel
Join our MeetUp
Sign up for our business tips newsletter