There has been an interesting conversation going on the past couple of weeks over at the Happy at Work blog. It centers around the commonly held principle that "the customer is always right". Alexander Kjurelf, the Danish author of the article, argues that this old maxim actually leads to worse customer service.
By stating that the "customer is always right" you are implying that in any disagreement between an employee and a customer you are going to side with the customer. This can lead to an alienation of your employees which can result in lower employee morale and therefore worse customer service. In any business there are going to be very difficult people who are going to be unreasonable. The example given in the blog is a great one. A Southwest Airlines customer was continually complaining about the service she received and it was eventually brought to the attention of Herb Kelleher, the founder. He wrote a simple letter back to the customer saying, "Dear Mrs X, We will miss you. Love, Herb".
There is another old maxim that applies here and that is "you can't please all of the people all of the time." Some people are just looking for any reason to be displeased. If you can weed out these customers before they do any damage, you will keep your staff happy which will lead to better customer service.