Is the Customer Always Right?
There is a very old saying that I’d like to discuss today. I’m sure we’ve all heard it before, and we are guaranteed to hear it again. There are times that this saying does make perfect sense but there are quite a few times that it should easily be pushed to the wayside and reevaluated. The fateful saying is,
“The customer is always right.”
So, let me ask you this, do you think the customer is always right?
As I said before, the answer is pretty subjective at this point and can be answered with a yes, no and a maybe! There are times when the customer is right but there are also times that the customer is just misinformed and then there are times when the customer is just straight up wrong! Let’s take a look at a couple examples and see if you think they are right!
Just recently I had a client tell me that she was told her Maple needed to be topped because it was too tall. She asked me if I could top it and I responded with “Absolutely not, we don’t top trees. We don’t top trees because it causes the tree undue stress as well as makes the tree push out epicormic growth that grows at a faster rate than stable wood. It also opens the tree up to a great deal of decay that is located below these fast growing shoots.” She was very surprised by the answer and asked why trees are topped. I explained that clients are misinformed and misled by “tree cutters” looking to make a quick buck. I also explained that we are arborist, not tree cutters.
This is a great example of the client being wrong as well as misinformed. Many times I can give some knowledge to them and they are beyond happy to have us work with them. I would much rather inform a client of proper tree care than misinform them just to take their money. Misinformation isn’t a good business model for a company!
Another example that comes to mind was a situation where the client told me their tree needed to be pruned. They told me about how much they loved their tree and how much they wanted to care for it and keep it healthy. I asked them what their objective was for us to prune the tree seeing as it wasn’t overhanging a house, there were no obvious targets that were at risk and the tree was perfectly fine as it was. The client responded that the tree just needed to be pruned to keep it healthy. At this point I told them that the only reason trees are pruned is to uphold a human objective. If we want our trees to be as healthy as possible, stop pruning them, just leave them alone. At this point we usually have a laugh about how much sense that actually makes and then move onto more pressing objectives for their landscape.
I know this blog post may sound like I'm turning down work for my tree service company, but this method actually gives my company long-term clients that trust us for years to come. Clients that pay us for some hack work typically never call us again. We are looking to create a company that will stick around as a legacy of proper tree care and informing our clients so they have the knowledge in their wheelhouse. When you empower your clients with knowledge, they will always remember you over the company that gave them a cheap price!