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April 2012
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TD Magazine

“Do you agree with ‘the customer/client is always right’ philosophy?”

"Do you agree with 'the customer/client is always right' philosophy?"
—Andre' Harrell, Global Sales & Marketing Operations Executive, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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"In our work with clients, we prefer to follow a philosophy of partnership as opposed to customer. The issue with this statement is that it predetermines the relationship. If one is to agree that the customer is always right, then that is how the relationship is defined. When you are an internal 'supplier,' such as human resources or training and development, this definition causes further issues. We should move away from customers to partners."

—Francois du Plessis, Practice Leader at Engage Leadership, Johannesburg, South Africa

"From the perspective of a learning professional, the customer or client is rarely accurate in discerning his own needs or gaps. I have found that, especially with operations folks, they tend to be solutions-minded, to a fault. They consistently jump to what they think will fix a problem without spending adequate time defining the root cause of the issue. I have learned to first say 'yes!' and then continue to ask questions to discover the real root issue."

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—Barry E. Altland, Assistant Vice President/Learning Consultant, Professional Development, Orlando, Florida

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