NOMINALLY, at least, every shop pursues a policy of always endeavouring to please its customers, and although this policy is not always carried out with the amount of enthusiasm that might be desired, it is wise occasionally to send out a letter asking customers if there is any complaint that they have to make about the service given to them. John Wanamaker, the greatest retailer in America, if not in the world, always acted on the principle that the customer is always right, and he succeeded in building up a marvellous business largely because of' his adherence to this principle. It is pleasing to notice that this principle is becoming more widely recognised every day, and that many firms in this country now make it a firm rule to do as the customer wishes, even though they know, and could prove, that the customer is wrong.
Such a policy does not, however, necessitate the continual eating of that commodity known as " humble pie." I,etters answering complaints should be quite polite, but they should also be quite dignified, and they need not always admit that the fault is on the side of the firm. Their tone should.
convey that they are only due to the unvarying desire of the firm to please its customers. Care must, however, be taken with such a letter to ensure that it does not seem ungracious in any way, or appear to be granting a favour grudgingly. No customer likes to feel that he is any way seriously indebted to a firm.
There are times, however, when a customer's complaint will have to be refused, not because granting it would mean a slight loss to the firm, but because that customer is notoriously a bad one in the habit of making frivo lous complaints. In such cases the letter must be worded quite respectfully, but quite firmly. At the same time it must be remembered that the public as a whole are honest, and that a slight pecuniary loss over one transaction, if it leads to a gratified customer, will often prove a most effective advertise