In the service industry as well as the sales industry, the common refrain is that the customer is always right. While this is a good service culture to have, it only applies to innocent customers.
What do I mean by innocent customers? They are customers who are innocent victims of a service lapse. In this case, by all means go all out to make them happy even if it means going above and beyond the call of duty. With proper service recovery, these clients will be your biggest brand ambassadors.
Unfortunately, not all customers are innocent. There are customers who deliberately create conditions for service lapses so that they can milk the customer service agent for all they can. They know that every company wants to make their clients happy and will usually offer some form of compensation in the form of extra services to right a lapse. It is this attitude that makes companies vulnerable.
So what should you do? As a manager or even a customer service representative, do not always assume that the lapse is your fault. Stop briefly to think before offering service recovery compensation. The brief pause will save you a lot of headaches as these non-innocents will only keep coming back until they are called out.
So while it is good company policy to assume a customer is always right, it is also good policy to also first determine if the complaining customer is an innocent.