Consumerism at its Best
For countries that encourage consumerism there may be a general attitude that the “customer is always right”. This business principal stems from the idea that a pleased customer is a paying customer. For some companies, a complaint from a consumer related to an employee’s service could go as far as termination. As consumers we want the best for our money, service with a smile, and solutions to any issues. If you call support and get a customer service agent that has been outsourced to somewhere outside of the USA, an American or English-speaking agent can be requested. Businesses have gotten smarter about things like customers returning items; many of them offer exchanges over refunds. They maintain that this is still an obliging attitude of customer service by agreeing to the exchange without question (provided the item is not damaged and most places require a receipt). Companies often have a certain allowance or budget for extended circumstances of a potentially unhappy customer, where a negative review and no repeat business may be at stake.
Manipulating the System
Unfortunately, there are those who have observed the system and have decided to manipulate it to their advantage. Companies require receipts to return or exchange an item in part to prevent people’s dishonesty of trying to return an item they know they did not purchase from that company. A dishonest restaurant patron may try something like eating most of their food before lying to the waiter about finding a foreign object in the meal or asserting that the food was terrible. Some may be tempted to exploit free items or services that places offer to an excessive degree, feeling justified because of a belief that big business is corrupt.
“They get over on me all the time, so I’m going to get over whenever I can.”
While it may not seem like a big deal, applying that attitude to patrons in large numbers can add up in costs for companies. Some places have implemented additional methods of cutting back on customer privilege. Remember when you could go to a fast food restaurant and grab excessive handfuls of condiments, napkins, and plastic cutlery? For many drive-thrus, you must now request those items and even then it will be a pre-determined amount; some sauces cost additional. While negative reviews on apps like Yelp or social media can be crippling, so can going out of business because of too many free bells and whistles to customers.