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IS IT TRUE THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT? Entrepreneurs give their thoughts on an age-old business adage “The customer does come first and is generally right as that is how we are successfully growing our business. As a business that has operational costs as any other business, and prides itself on its integrity, honesty and providing the best service possible for clients, we appreciate the same courtesy.” Shannon Gordon, owner of Zone One Wellness,

“Disputes with customers almost always arise when the facts are confused with the expectations. The responsive and ethical business will listen, rather than defend or excuse, and will understand that these expectations are always right in the customer’s mind, and must be heard and honoured before anything else can be done to repair and preserve the relationship.” John Breeze, co-founder and COO of It’s All About Connecting Inc.,

“The customer isn’t always right but they are always the one paying our salaries. The key here is to let the customer know that you are listening to their concerns and trying to find a way to solve whatever is the issue in a way that is good for all. This might mean compromise and lateral thinking, on both sides, but I do believe that there is the possibility of a successful outcome in all interactions.” Peter Stow, president of Isomass Scientific Inc.,


“Customers deserve the benefit of the doubt, but just like employees, they can be fired at any time. Being upset doesn’t give a customer the right to be abusive and any comments that were sexist, racist, or otherwise prejudiced would result in that customer being shown the door and asked not to return. You have to take care of your customers, especially if they’ve been wronged, but it’s equally important you take care of your staff.” Eric Boudreau, owner at Escape Capers YYC,


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“Yes, however, they aren’t always the right customer. At the end of the day, if your value proposition doesn’t match the client’s needs they will stop buying it. When it comes to customer service, sometimes clients can be a bad fit for your model and become a distraction to your core business. That being said, if you mess something up — own it and your customer will love you once you’ve made it right.”

For more great events, visit calgaryevents.

“It’s not that the customer is always right, but more like that the customer is never really wrong. It’s always best to treat customers with respect, dignity and sincerity in any scenario. Most problems can get resolved if one takes the time to truly understand the customer’s perspective and respond appropriately with that in mind.”

What benefits are there to local sourcing and procurement?

Shawn Freeman, president of TWT Group,

Corey Allard, founder of Change Your Game (, believes sometimes is comes down to customer education. “While we always want the customer to be happy and satisfied, the truth is they are not always right. Sometimes it’s our fault for not managing expectations or articulating properly. Other times they have received advice from, a friend, family member or the internet. While the advice received may have been perfectly acceptable for the person receiving it, it’s often not for our customer.”


Gary Ellis, principal at BridgeTownWorks,

“No. But it is a loaded question because it depends on the service or product the customer is buying, the uniqueness of the product or service, and the seller’s unique selling proposition. It also very much depends on what the customer has said and in what context. In our world, we are specifically hired to guide companies down the right path when they have not been able to be right on their own. We are labelled as vendors because we are hired on contract or purchase order for a defined set of deliverables, however, we act more as mentors and purveyors of innovative ways of doing things, correcting what others have done wrong in the past. It is also not always about being right.”


Bernadette Bosse, president and CEO of dms360 Ltd.,

These answers are in response to a question posed by Wellington Holbrook, executive vice-president of ATB Business. Here’s his take on the classic business phrase: “Of course the customer isn’t always right. But, it certainly does matter what that customer thinks. In today’s world of social media and instant news, a reputation can be built or destroyed on how we handle and help each and every customer, every time. The view we have at ATB is that every interaction with our customers is an opportunity to deliver WOW — even if it is just making something right in the eyes of our customer. And, even if the customer is wrong, we know we aren’t so perfect either so we are going to work very hard to find a way to make

For business owners, there are many options for sourcing suppliers, contractors, products and materials, which is why Chad Zelensky, creative mastermind at Lowen’s Natural Skincare ( wants to hear from you: What benefits are there to local sourcing and procurement? You can answer the question in two ways: Open today’s Capital Ideas email if you’re a member or visit We’ll publish the best answers, along with your business name and website address, on December 17.

that customer happy.” R O U N D U P : R E C E N T P O S T S F R O M C A P I TA L I D E A S M E M B E R S Find the full posts on these members’ LinkedIn profiles or at their website. We’ll curate a selection every Friday in our LinkedIn group, Capital Ideas Alberta. To bring yours to our attention, email it to or post to LinkedIn with the hashtag #capitalideas.

From “Brand strategy: What’s yours?” by Toni Guffei, owner of Ratio Reports (

“A successful brand is made up of a recognized name, design, logo, symbol or a combination of these and/or other factors. It has a competitive advantage because it is the one that immediately comes to mind, and gaining a competitive advantage means the brand makes more money.”


From “Who’s your wingman?” by Laura Bechard, business & executive coach, Bexco Business & Executive

“Who asks you the tough questions and helps you realize your vision? Who is your sounding board that encourages you to search for better solutions — not settle for ‘good enough’ ? Who helps you be accountable?”

From “Black holes in bookkeeping (part four): Understanding financial statements” by Christine Reimer, founder of Bridge the Gap Accounting (

“Bookkeepers and accountants do make errors, as in any industry. Your best protection against these vulnerabilities is to take ownership, with your bookkeeper and accountant, for your financial record keeping.”

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S I G N U P AT :

Is it true the customer is always right?  

Entrepreneurs give their thoughts on an age-old adage

Is it true the customer is always right?  

Entrepreneurs give their thoughts on an age-old adage