This is a mistake that I see certain businesses making on a regular basis. They tend to assume that their customers are stupid and even worse, they treat them as if they are. I think this is a very dangerous assumption to make and clearly it is downright insulting. After all, we are all consumers and I don't know about you, but I certainly don't think I'm stupid and I definitely don't like being treated as if I am.

Some business operators tend to think that they can say anything or make any offer and their customers will come running in the door. They can treat their customers however they like, fail to deliver as promised and even tell blatant lies. That may have been the case a few years ago but now competition is increasing so dramatically that the consumers have the upper hand and rightly so.

We are all much more educated. For example we know that most large department stores have regular sales, with huge savings - so we tend to wait for those sales when making bigger purchases. We talk to each other, asking questions about prices, service and experiences when it comes to making purchases and we are quick to talk honestly about any business that treats us as if we are stupid. We expect complaints to be handled professionally and with respect and they rarely are.

Realistically, this is all about treating our customers with great respect. Ideally we should treat them the same way we like to be treated. This leads to the question "how do you like to be treated?". What type of discount do you look for when you are bargain hunting? How do you expect to be treated if you have a complaint? One of the best ways to upset a customer is to sell them something at full price the day before your 30 per cent store wide sale. We have all experienced this and we all find it very frustrating.

If your business has developed an almost cynical approach to the customers that pay your bills, maybe it is time to rethink your business philosophy. Even if you have the right attitude, make sure your staff appreciate both the intelligence and the importance of your customers. After all, if they are that much of an inconvenience, imagine life without them.