Is the customer always right when they're wrong?

25 Sep

Many companies have the mantra that the customer is always right. I personally don’t subscribe to that sentiment although I do believe the customer should always be treated as if they are right. But what about prospects, ie future customers?

I had a one-on-one web presentation scheduled with a prospect. I spoke to them on the phone where we confirmed the date, time and agenda. Then they accepted my Outlook meeting request.

And then never showed up! Never cancelled either, just did not show up. Is that rude? Acceptable behavior? Common but unfortunate behavior?

My admin gets the prospect on the phone and reschedules the call. Again, the prospect accepts the meeting request. Want to guess what happened next? NO SHOW! No excuse, no phone call, no flowers, nada.

Well, they’re not a prospect any longer. But what would you do next?

  • grab a drink and forget about them
  • call and berate their boss for hiring inconsiderate jerks
  • call their boss and continue selling

What would you do?

PS - thanks to techsupporthell for the picture

3 Responses to “Is the customer always right when they're wrong?”

  1. Trish Bertuzzi September 26, 2008 at 6:04 am #

    Michael, this scenario is all too familiar not only for me but also for my clients who are selling.
    I remember a concept called “professional courtesy” where we respected one another’s time and extended each other the common courtesy of commitment. Most professionals still adhere to the concept but for those that don’t…what goes around comes around.
    As for what I would do next, I would move on. You offer a great service and it is his/her loss that they won’t know about it.
    PS – Please send me his/her name under seperate cover so I don’t waste time prospecting them (just kidding!)

  2. Geoff Alexander September 26, 2008 at 1:02 pm #

    My experience with these types of issues is that they’re endemic within a company, and that behavior tends to be reinforced from the top down. I walk away and take the high road by not saying anything further and continue working with propsects that I like. These ethical issues probably should be addressed more often, as many people seem to think this is normal behavior. Take a look at a post on business ethics my own blog at

  3. Michael Kreppein September 26, 2008 at 2:27 pm #

    My grandfather would say it’s the younger generation and their lack of manners. But I’m sure his grandfather said the same thing about their generation. As I constantly remind myself, “email is forever” so blasting someone for their lack of manners brings you down to their level.

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