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Corporate Culture: Customer Is Not Always Right Essay

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Updated: Jun 29th, 2021

Abstract

Clients contribute to the development of companies significantly, especially those working in the field of hospitality. One of the questions this paper raises is whether this fact means that the customer is always right. Restaurants and hotels call clients their “guests” and strive to provide them with excellent service, retaining their loyalty. However, placing customers in such a superior position may be harmful to employees working for such businesses.

This paper aims at exploring the idea that the customer is always right and providing claims that, in many cases, such an approach is inappropriate. It features current studies in the field and analyzes the impact of such policies on both clients and workers. Moreover, the report provides an alternative view on the issue, reflecting on the beneficial sides of making the customer’s desires a priority. The report concludes that it is vital for companies to ensure fair treatment to their employees while improving the quality of their services.

Introduction

Customers or guests are the staples of successful businesses, as they are the ones contributing to the development of companies. It is evident that customers drive revenue, and through this, businesses flourish. This fact raises the following question: Can the customer do any wrong? This question can be considered the one challenging the hospitality industry day by day. Hospitable people are expected to be forgiving and welcoming, especially when they provide hospitality services professionally.

However, it is possible to say that such an approach is wrong. Wrong or inappropriate actions of staff members always have consequences, and this should be true for guests as well. Hospitality professionals are as important as guests, as all of them contribute to the development of a business. The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether the customer is always right, and what actions hospitality service workers should take when an individual is wrong. The report argues that

Definition of Hospitality Service

Hospitality can be described as the process of entertainment of guests or customers, which, in the case of hotels and restaurants, is a significant part of their work. The hospitality industry is composed of businesses that focus on customer service. The specific aspects the hospitality industry specializes in include food and beverages, stays, travel, and tourism. This paper focuses on the services restaurants and hotels provide because these organizations work with guests daily and may encounter challenging situations associated with hospitality often.

Significance of the Guest’s Experience

LaTour and Carbone (2014) report that the purpose of experience is “to create a series of sub-experiences that will ‘stick’ with the customer.” This quote reflects the end goal of the hospitality industry. The idea of leaving a customer with a memorable and pleasant experience is believed to be the key to every successful company. As a result, many organizations aim at providing excellent service and prevent possible guests’ dissatisfaction.

The study by Mensah and Mensah (2018) shows that such a strategy is vital because the quality of service affects individuals’ decisions significantly. Customers evaluate organizations working in the hospitality sector based on the service they provide, which means that their subjective experience is vital for companies. Moreover, if a guest is pleased with their visit to a restaurant or stay in a hotel, they are likely to recommend this place to others. Barnes, Meyer, and Kinard (2016) report that positive recommendations are crucial because they motivate other customers to use the services a company provides. Thus, it is vital for organizations to ensure that their guests’ experiences with their work are positive.

Customer Expectations of Hospitality Services

It is evident that customers have various expectations regarding hospitality services. For example, Ferenczuk (2018) reports that in today’s world, clients are highly aware of their needs and do not wish to settle for less. They expect to find the information about a restaurant or a hotel online easily, and prefer accessible data over complicated-looking websites. Moreover, customers expect the services to be quick, which means that they want companies to serve possible problems right after they occur (Ferenczuk, 2018).

They expect that individuals working in the hospitality field listen to them actively and are welcoming, and that the waiting time is reduced to a minimum. In addition, notably, many customers want their expectations to be exceeded (Ferenczuk, 2018). It is vital to mention that many customers expect that some of the common practices in the field of hospitality services will be eliminated. For instance, the necessity to tip in restaurants undermines the level of guests’ satisfaction (Lynn, 2017). Thus, many companies have to try their best to not only meet clients’ demands but do all they can to please their guests, as, otherwise, individuals may choose to visit other places.

It is vital to mention that one person’s expectations may be different from another one’s. For instance, Hu, Teichert, Liu, Li, and Gundyreva (2019) report that individuals that have more traveling experiences may expect a higher quality of services that those that have visited fewer places. Moreover, the authors note that, in some cases, the customer’s expectations may change after several visits, as they may develop loyalty to the company (Hu et al., 2019). In any case, in today’s world, many organizations strive to meet clients’ expectations, as the level of competition in the market is high.

Hospitality Service Training Overview

There are several approaches to hospitality service training available for the individuals working in the industry. For instance, Yumatov et al. (2017) report that some of the most commonly used ones include problem-based learning (PBL) and life-long learning (LLL).

In the first approach, employees act as problem solvers and are engaged in working on possible challenging issues they may encounter at work. The second strategy ensures staff members’ continuous personal development, which helps them to be more productive at their work and provide high-quality services. Various approaches to training are highly effective when combined with a high level of organizational commitment. Dhar (2015) reports that the company’s desire to improve its services is crucial for its success. Thus, it is vital for firms not only to implement hospitality service training but to strive to improve their approaches to increase the quality of services.

Complications of Providing Hospitality Services

There are many challenges staff members of restaurants and hotels may encounter while trying to meet clients’ demands. For instance, many of them experience discrimination or abuse from customers (Hall, 2018; Lynn, 2017). As a result, workers may experience emotional distress, have no interest in their job, and develop mental health issues. Moreover, individuals providing hospitality services may encounter abusive work practices and bullying in the workplace. The study by Arnoldsson (2015) reports that, often, employees have to work with authoritative management and feel belittled and abused verbally as a result of it.

It is vital to note that, for many companies in the industry, customers’ desires may be more significant than their personnel’s needs. For instance, many firms have so-called recovery services for clients reporting employees’ misconduct, as they strive to retain their customers and their loyalty (Kim & Baker, 2019). As a result, companies may abuse staff members or deprive them of benefits, although their actions may have been appropriate, and the complaint could have been illegitimate.

The facts presented above reveal that following the “the customer is always right” rule may result in significant challenges for employees providing hospitality services. Wu (2015) notes that many service-oriented businesses, especially those working in the hospitality field, encounter negative customer behavior. Guests of restaurants and hotels engage in violence, unfriendly attitude, bullying, damage of facilities, and other unpleasant actions, which cannot be considered appropriate. However, such behaviors are not always punishable because customers are considered superior, while employees could face charges or be fired for the same actions. It means that companies should not believe that the customer is always right and treat them based on their actions.

Alternative Perspective

This paper presents the opinion that the customer should not be considered right in all situations, as all people’s negative actions should have consequences. However, it is vital to mention that there is an alternative perspective on this issue. One may say that when a guest is wrong or shows inappropriate behavior, companies should make them feel welcomed because it is beneficial for the business. Customers’ loyalty depends on the company’s services and employees’ attitudes highly, which means that firms should strive to retain their clients (Jasinskas, Streimikiene, Svagzdiene, & Simanavicius, 2016).

Moreover, as mentioned above, guests contribute to the development of the business by investing in it, which means that it may be non-beneficial for a firm to accuse them of inappropriate behavior. For restaurants and hotels, any possible conflict with customers may result in negative reviews and, consequently, lower revenues.

At the same time, it is crucial to note that this perspective has several flaws. First, as mentioned above, the superiority of clients or guests leads to an inequality between the visitors and the employees, which is unfair. It shows the workers that customers are treated better than they are; as a result, they may feel dissatisfied with their job and their managers’ attitudes. Second, as they are likely to experience mental health issues and feel less dedicated to their work due to unfair treatment, they may be less productive, which is also not beneficial for the organization. Finally, a company should aim at building a positive and welcoming environment for its employees, and following “the customer is always right” rule may not align with such a goal.

Conclusion

The presented paper claims that the customer should not always be right. There are cases in which a client’s behavior is inappropriate, as some guests of restaurants and hotels are prone to violence, bullying, and abuse, and some of their complaints are illegitimate. Moreover, employees and customers should be treated equally; it means that it is unfair to punish a worker for an action for which a client would be forgiven.

By assuming the guest’s superiority, companies do not create positive and welcoming environments for their workers, which may result in mental health issues and decreased dedication. There is an alternative perspective on the issue that states that when the customer is not right, an organization should make them feel that they are. This way, a company may benefit from individuals, as they contribute to its development. However, such an approach is flawed because it is associated with significant challenges for the employees and is not based on the principles of fairness.

Research Methodology

The findings of this paper are the result of the analysis of peer-reviewed articles and authoritative sources in the field. To understand the possible impact of “the customer is always right” policy, several articles studying the benefits and the disadvantages of such a rule were investigated. The arguments for both positions were studied thoroughly with the use of scholarly articles from several journals, including Cornell Hospitality Quarterly, Journal of Consumer Affairs, and Journal of Service Science and Management.

References

Arnoldsson, J. (2015). . Web.

This paper presents vital information on the possible abusive practices within companies providing hospitality services. The author addresses the conditions employees have to work in restaurant businesses, especially during intense-service periods. Arnoldsson (2015) discusses the possible causes of such issues, including a lack of appropriate training of the management personnel. He also outlines the problem of the pressure some high-end customers place on the kitchen staff.

Barnes, D. C., Meyer, T., & Kinard, B. R. (2016). Implementing a delight strategy in a restaurant setting: The power of unsolicited recommendations. Cornell Hospitality Quarterly, 57(3), 329-342. Web.

This study addresses the approaches companies may implement to improve customers’ loyalty and satisfaction. More specifically, the report presents an analysis of the significance of recommendations and their impact on clients’ delight. The paper evaluates the link between individuals’ expectations and their interest in services, as well as provides an insight into how unsolicited recommendations may lead to adverse outcomes. The authors add that it is also crucial for companies to develop service scripts to ensure customers’ satisfaction.

Dhar, R. L. (2015). Service quality and the training of employees: The mediating role of organizational commitment. Tourism Management, 46, 419-430.

This work analyzes the perspectives employees working in hotels have regarding training opportunities and their effect on the services guests receive. The paper explains the link between the benefits and accessibility of training and organizational commitment. The authors use the data obtained from 494 employees working in medium- and small-size companies. They conclude that hospitality service training is highly significant for improving the quality of work of hotels.

Ferenczuk, K. (2018). . Web.

This report features the characteristics of modern customers and addresses the processes they affect, including the buying one. The author addresses the significance of reviews for today’s clients and notes that recommendations may become the primary source of information for them. Customer service is also discussed in the paper in detail; the differences between the preferences individuals may have are addressed. The source also features the aspect of social responsibility, noting that modern clients have become highly aware of their surroundings, which means that they look for sustainability in companies.

Hall, T. (2018). Restaurant tipping and discrimination: Exploring the implications of automatic gratuities. Cornell Hospitality Quarterly, 59(3), 296–303. Web.

This source addresses the problem of discrimination in hospitality settings. The report discusses how racial disparities between customers and employees may affect their relationships and reflects on the possible causes of it. Notably, the author links tipping to discriminative practices, sharing his perceptions on how restaurant servers may neglect minority patrons. The paper tries to offer a solution to the problem of discrimination and suggests the strategies that can reduce disparities in service.

Hu, F., Teichert, T., Liu, Y., Li, H., & Gundyreva, E. (2019). Evolving customer expectations of hospitality services: Differences in attribute effects on satisfaction and Re-Patronage. Tourism Management, 74, 345-357. Web.

Jasinskas, E., Streimikiene, D., Svagzdiene, B., & Simanavicius, A. (2016). Impact of hotel service quality on the loyalty of customers. Economic Research-Ekonomska Istraživanja, 29(1), 559-572.

Kim, K., & Baker, M. A. (2019). The customer isn’t always right: The implications of illegitimate complaints. Cornell Hospitality Quarterly, 60(4), 1-15. Web.

LaTour, K. A., & Carbone, L. P. (2014). Sticktion: Assessing memory for the customer experience. Cornell Hospitality Quarterly, 55(4), 342–353. Web.

Lynn, M. (2018). The effects of tipping on consumers’ satisfaction with restaurants. Journal of Consumer Affairs, 52(3), 746-755. Web.

Mensah, I., & Mensah, R. D. (2018). Effects of service quality and customer satisfaction on repurchase intention in restaurants on University of Cape Coast Campus. Web.

Wu, J. (2015). Internal audit and review of the negative customer behavior. Journal of Service Science and Management, 8(4), 578-587.

Yumatov, K. V., Kiriyanova, L. G., Yakimova, N. S., Zaitseva, N. A., Larionova, A. A., & Korsunova, N. M. (2017). Problem-based learning methods for training staff for tourism and hospitality clusters. Eurasian Journal of Analytical Chemistry, 12(5b), 803-812. Web.

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