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The Pred
Blue Belt
Blue Belt

Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 301

Styles: Goju Ryu

PostPosted: Tue Apr 11, 2017 7:14 pm    Post subject: customer is always right Reply with quote

Now often times in business, it is said the customer is always right. Does anyone believes this to be true in the world of Martial arts?
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Spartacus Maximus
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 01 Jun 2014
Posts: 1288

Styles: Shorin ryu

PostPosted: Tue Apr 11, 2017 8:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is some can o'worms about to be opened with that question. Applying the "customer is always right" notion to a martial arts school implies accepting and encouraging complicated issues; which will eventually undermine or derail teaching.

This would mean, for example that a student could be evaluated simply because paying entitles said student to grade, regardless of demonstrable skills. An instructor applying the notion that students or customers are always right will be obligated to sacrifice entirely give up quality training in order to satisfy customers.

Applying the notion or not depends on the instructor's goal. If it is to make a profit above all else by offering a physical activity or sport, then it probably should apply. Especially if it is the instructor's living. If on the other hand the goal is to teach a system with focus on quality and depth skills, it would be counterproductive to apply "customer is always right".
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The Pred
Blue Belt
Blue Belt

Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 301

Styles: Goju Ryu

PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 6:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spartacus Maximus wrote:
This is some can o'worms about to be opened with that question. Applying the "customer is always right" notion to a martial arts school implies accepting and encouraging complicated issues; which will eventually undermine or derail teaching.

This would mean, for example that a student could be evaluated simply because paying entitles said student to grade, regardless of demonstrable skills. An instructor applying the notion that students or customers are always right will be obligated to sacrifice entirely give up quality training in order to satisfy customers.

Applying the notion or not depends on the instructor's goal. If it is to make a profit above all else by offering a physical activity or sport, then it probably should apply. Especially if it is the instructor's living. If on the other hand the goal is to teach a system with focus on quality and depth skills, it would be counterproductive to apply "customer is always right".


Solid point, yeah paying for a service does make thing more complicated. Thankfully from what I've seen majority of students aren't like that.
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Tempest
Blue Belt
Blue Belt

Joined: 31 Aug 2006
Posts: 258
Location: Tulsa, OK
Styles: Judo, HEMA

PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 7:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, this is a tricky question for any school owner. First of all, the saying the customer is always right is not even true in ANY skills based service industry.

If the customer knew what they were talking about, then they wouldn't need us. That being said, it is very important to recognize a more fundamental truth of business here: Your ego, nor the ego of your organization, cannot be the defining characteristic of your interactions with customers.

It is ok, even expected, for you to set expectations for students to test, but they cannot and should not be based on "well that's what I had to do", or "I don't like this kid's character/morals/religion/whatever".

An important part of customer service in the martial arts industry, assuming you wish to keep your integrity AND your students, is established standards on both sides of the student/teacher relationship. The students do and should expect the teacher to behave in a certain fashion and provide a certain level of instruction along with a certain quality of facility, in return the teacher can and in fact SHOULD have expectations of the student in regards to performance, attendance, and work ethic.

The key to making this work is established standards on BOTH sides of the relationship from the beginning and that the instructor keeps to their side of the bargain.
I have seen otherwise good schools ruined because the instructor did not keep to their side of this bargain and I have left schools where one or the other of us could not keep to it.
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DWx
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 17 Jan 2007
Posts: 5700
Location: UK
Styles: Tae Kwon Do & Yang family Tai Chi

PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 8:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I hate this saying. I work in sales (business to business) and to me "The customer is always right" results in a poorer standard of service and decreased quality level.

As Tempest said, how can the customer always be right when we are the experts providing them the service? If they know everything already, they don't need us.

My approach has always been that the customer should leave satisfied with the exchange that took place. That's not to say that they should always get what they want or we should treat them in a special way, but if they are unhappy we should try to find a mutually agreeable solution to the issue. Of course if there is something wrong on our end (the seller) we should try to fix it for them, but a lot of time it is more an issue of educating a customer as to why things are a certain way or why they are mistaken.

Bending over backwards all the time results in resentment and poorer standards and the customer (or in this case student) will continue to demand things in the belief that they are "right".
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JR 137
KF Sempai
KF Sempai

Joined: 10 May 2015
Posts: 1464
Location: In the dojo
Styles: Seido Juku

PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 11:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The customer is always right in places where 11 year olds are given 4th dans.
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The Pred
Blue Belt
Blue Belt

Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 301

Styles: Goju Ryu

PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 11:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

JR 137 wrote:
The customer is always right in places where 11 year olds are given 4th dans.


Solid point
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 12576
Location: Owasso, OK
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 12:53 pm    Post subject: Re: customer is always right Reply with quote

The Pred wrote:
Now often times in business, it is said the customer is always right. Does anyone believes this to be true in the world of Martial arts?

NO!! Not in a billion years!! Not today, not tomorrow!! Not a snowballs chance in an active volcano!!

Customers are an important element of any business; without them, there is no business. Catering to a customer is part of Customer Service 101, and in that, a customer is entitled to be treated in a professional manner without any ambiguity.

HOWEVER...

Customer Service doesn't include that the customer is always right!! Once one believes in that mindset, then the business has just surrendered everything to the customer.

Give them an inch, they'll take a mile.

That is a two way street.

At times, you want to not only give the customer that inch, but you'll also want to give the customer that well deserved mile. In business, they call that the Favor Bank. I scratch your back, and in return, you scratch my back.

Still, you control every aspect!! Otherwise, you've surrendered the high road to the customer, and they, at times, will run with that until the wheels fall right off.

At other times, if you give that inch, customers have a propensity of wanting to just take that mile, if they can get away with it.

I run the business...it's mine!! I run the dojo...it's mine!! I run the retail side of the dojo...it's mine!! I RUN THE FLOOR...it's mine, and I share its responsibility with no one...EVER!!

Customer wants rank, THEN EARN IT OR GET OUT OF MY DOJO!! PERIOD!! NO IF AND BUTS ABOUT IT!!

Sure, all are expendable; no ones above that!! One wrong decision means it's all over, albeit, one right decision opens up untold opportunities.

In any business, it's about these two things...

1) Communication
2) Accountability

These are the cornerstones of any business, and yes, a school of the MA IS a business if it has to meet monthly/quarterly/annual overhead.

Communicate clearly and concisely, and with that come being decisively. Clear communications!! With clear communications comes an understanding between the customer and you.

Accountability should be shared by all. Accountability should also be owned by whomever is required to take the responsibility of any wrong doings, immediately.

Discuss, and if your wrong, admit to it, apologize, and move on in a much more positive course...whomever was at fault. Deciding who's at fault is a skill set that both have to understand, even though they don't always agree, but someone was at fault in any relationship.

When is the customer always right, if there is such a time?? That's when the customer becomes the business owner, and not until then!!!! Give that customer what they want all of the time...no matter what...well...start packing your bags...you've just handed over the gold ring, and the keys to your business, over to the customer.

Is it a thin line? No!! It's a very defined line; one that should be painted with very wide broad strokes so that the customer knows their role at all time!!



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LLLEARNER
Green Belt
Green Belt

Joined: 10 Feb 2016
Posts: 390
Location: Central Maine

PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 5:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well said Sensei8! That is exactly why I have my daughter in karate. For her to have reinforced at a young age that she needs to earn what she wants.
To me, the karate is secondary. It is a tool that teaches focus, accountability, earning what you want, and goal setting.
I, and our sensei, are impressed that she is able to remain focused so well for a class that is an hour and a half and gets out at 2030 at 5 years old. The class does karate, not games. She is actually doing really well lately. She is knows her kata, jujutsu wrist techniques, holds and is really progressing in her waza. There is an amount of imperfect technique, but part of that is 5 year old coordination. She has only been punished with push-ups once.
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MatsuShinshii
Green Belt
Green Belt

Joined: 15 Aug 2016
Posts: 460
Location: Kentucky
Styles: Matsumura Shorin Ryu Rokudan 1979 to Present, Ryukyu Kenpo, Kobudo, Judo

PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2017 2:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

NO!

The customer is rarely right in my experience. I am in construction and customers often want things to be a certain way even though it will not work, be safe or meet code.

The saying works in some instances but often times sitting down and politely explaining the reasons it can not be done a certain way or why they can't do it their way is the way interactions go more than not.

In terms of the MA's. NO AGAIN!

I do not bow down to my students wishes in terms of when they think they are ready to test or what grade they should be. In terms of idea's, I'm always open to suggestion but it is ultimately my decision and not the students.

The class is ran by me. Too many chief's and not enough indian's never works. My door is open to any of my students but they do not call the shots I do. It's as simple as that.

If it were the customers always right, just imagine how many unworthy black belts we would have or how many one year black belts we would have. Isn't that the main goal for beginning students? If you ask them what their goal is, it's to earn their black belt. It's not until years later than their attitudes change and the belts no longer are the ultimate goal.

NO ONE will tell me who is ready, when, how fast or how to run my classes. That is my decision and mine alone. A student doesn't teach the class so why would give in to their wishes? I'm the teacher, end of story.

Shinshii is always right!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ROFL

Well maybe not but to my students I am. This is the only way to control a class size over 30 students. Keep the animals at bay.
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