Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?

October 5, 2007

We had a customer service incident today.

I answered a phone call from someone who had not yet been into our salon and was very irritated that she had received her reminder email only to learn that we thought her appointment was for Saturday and she thought it was for today. I asked her if she had gotten the email confirmation that is sent when the appointment is first made and she said she got it but didn’t read it.

I offered her a time today and she was unable to take it. I told her I would have the stylist call her and see what could be done to get the time she preferred. When the stylist arrived, he/she (I have been asked not to give too much info so as to not hurt any feelings, so I have adjusted gender) called the client and left a voice-mail in which she/he made a point to remind the client of the conversation and how she must have asked for a Saturday appointment.

An hour later, I got this email from the client:

I am cancelling my appointment on Saturday, 10/6 @ 4:30.

I have a funeral all day Saturday, why would I make an appt. that day?????? I don’t appreciate (X’s) claiming (she/he) specifically remembers me telling (him/her) Saturday, because I did not. It’s pretty funny too, (she/he) started off by saying, “I talked to you a couple days ago”… nope, just yesterday. I think (he/she’s) a little off on (his/her) days. Ever heard ‘the customer is always right’? I’ll be giving someone else my business.


When I spoke to the stylist about this, there were raised voices and hurt feelings. I was not irritated about the scheduling error. Things happen. Life is like that. What irritated me was the way it was handled. Once the confusion occurs, it makes no sense to fight over who was right. The question isn’t who was right, the question is, can the client be accommodated? I think they were both more interested in being right than they were about getting her hair done.

I tried to explain to the stylist that this lesson needed to be learned not just to be a successful service provider, but to live a happy life.

It hardly ever matters who was right. Really. I promise.

As to the “customer is always right” philosophy, our regular clients know that we don’t necessarily subscribe. We aren’t here to be doormats, and while I wish this incident could have been handled differently, I am not going to try to woo this client into giving us another chance.

I did reply to her email with an apology for being unable to solve her problem, a list of four salons that might be able to help her today, and our best wishes.

Feel free to discuss similar incidents and other solutions!


11 Responses to “Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?”

  1. jessica2512 Says:

    yeah… I think I agree that customers are not always right.. every person has their own minuses and pluses

  2. Aura Mae Says:

    Ah, humans; flawed, fallible and the only species with a credit card. Guess I’m stuck with them as customers!

  3. amber harris Says:

    Here is the same pissy attitude that prevails over this entire salon site. Its bitchy undercore is ruinous. There is nothing worse than an owner who doesn’t believe the customer is always right. Badmouthing any customer in any form is unethical and certainly scares prospective new clients away. Not nice at all.

  4. Jenn Regis Says:

    And trashing the stylist too, in such a backhanded way–how weird. This person is mad and needs anger hairapy.

  5. Aura Mae Says:

    Gee, and I thought I had done a great job of presenting the view that they were both wrong!

    The great thing about our business model is that while we may scare away clients, they are the clients who are less likely to be a good match for us anyway. We made a decision as a salon that we were not after every client. We decided to market with a scalpel rather than a shotgun.
    There are prospective clients who read our words and find us a refreshing change. Again, while our business model wouldn’t work for every business (and I would never dream of forcing it upon them!), it works for us.

  6. […] We have talked before (and I have taken some guff) about my belief that the customer is NOT always r…. Customers are human. They sometimes are wrong. I know. It seems crazy and counter to everything you have read about how to succeed in business. […]

  7. […] under: customer service — Aura Mae @ 6:02 pm Tags: customer service, salon, small business We have talked before (and I have taken some guff) about my belief that the customer is NOT always r…. Customers are […]

  8. […] We have all had customer service incidents.  (Here’s one of mine.) […]

  9. Faggot14 Says:

    I proved them wrong by not only attending university, but have been a great success in my professional life. ,

  10. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as
    though you relied on the video to make your point.
    You obviously know what youre talking about, why throw away your intelligence
    on just posting videos to your blog when you could be giving us something enlightening to read?

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