There was an interesting article in the Huffington Post last month that got my attention.  The headline read, Top 5 Reasons Why ‘The Customer is Always Right’ is Wrong.

I’ve probably heard that phrase a million times and never given it much thought.  But the headline alone got me thinking.  I understand and appreciate the spirit of the phrase, and the importance of customer trust and service, but I think it’s a message that’s been misconstrued and misused as a catch-all for how all business should function.

The Top 5 Reasons detailed in the piece focused chiefly on having your employees’ collective back in customer relations disputes for a host of reasons.  All good points.  But the headline didn’t sync with the conclusion I had come to after a quick glance.

In the consulting space, and other similar professional fields, declaring the customer correct with the broadest of brushes seems, well…  foolish.  Customers, or clients, seek counsel and expertise from consultants – not a rubber stamp.  Among other things, strong business partnerships are built on good communications and counsel, and the ability to say what the client needs to hear – not necessarily what they want to hear.

Is the customer always right?  Of course not.  But working together, the right solution and course of action for the customer is never far away.