Subject: Unruly Customers
The topic of this week’s post is near and dear to my heart. It’s about customer service. It comes in many forms, but the most common are in retail stores and the hospitality industry. I have had the pleasure (and at some times, the misfortune) of working in both environments. For anyone who has worked these jobs, you know that the majority of customers that you encounter are pleasant and good humoured. Unfortunately, there are a few types of customers that you will undoubtedly serve that make your job feel like a living nightmare…
1. The Complainer
Complainers are a unique breed. While the rest of the clientele are happy with their products and services, these clients will ALWAYS find something wrong with their experience. If something is not up to standard, it is completely legitimate to let your server or customer service representative know. They will be glad to correct the mistake. But this breed goes above and beyond…
1.a) First, there is the ‘cheap’ complainer. They will complain in order to receive a discount or free product. Their tactic almost always works because we are taught to make sure the customer leaves happy. And that happiness is apparently in the form of a free desert or 50% off your completely eaten plate of food. Hmm…
1.b) The second type is worse, because they cannot be pleased no matter how excellent the product or service is. And somehow they are always repeat visitors. If it’s not the product, then it’s the wait time. If it’s not the wait time, it’s the location. If it’s not the location, it’s the colour of the walls. Seriously, these customers will complain (not for any compensation) but just for the sake of complaining…and maybe just to hear their own voice. Seriously, if you begin every visit with “Well the last 5 times we were here, it was very disappointing” just STOP coming back and leave your server/cashier the hell alone!
2. The Grump
Generally when you are entering an establishment you will be greeted by a representative. They will be cheery (hopefully) and will say hello or ask you how you’re doing. Somehow, the grump interprets this cheery greeting as an invitation to be rude. They respond by pretending the person is vapour and walking past them without responding. For servers, this is the worst situation. Standling at a table, servers are forced to awkwardly await a response they will never receive. This is common courtesy folks, just say hello back! Just because we’re here to help/serve you doesn’t mean you can abandon your manners and treat us like dirt!
3. The Unreasonable Aggressor
This customer is often the hardest to deal with because there is no getting through to them. Some people, for unknown reasons, are just angry people. Sure, it is frustrating if your product is out of stock. Yes, it’s annoying when the wait time is long for your food. And yes, when there a mistake is made by an establishment that costs you time out of your day (EX: improper charges) it can be aggravating. However, none of these issues should EVER result in the irate yelling that I have experienced and witnessed by customers towards staff.
Generally, the cashier at the drug store who is being paid minimum wage didn’t decide to raise the price of your $3 shampoo to $4. Your server doesn’t deserve rude/aggressive comments because the well-done steak you ordered is taking longer than 12 minutes to arrive at your table. And finally, mistakes happen. The giant conglomerate who accidentally mischarged your credit card $21, probably isn’t trying to steal from you… So stop yelling and stop waving your arms like a lunatic, it’s not going to accomplish anything except let everyone know that you are nuts (and not in a good way, ahem).
And so, mind your manners. The customer is not always right, contrary to popular belief, and the employees that try their best to give you great service deserve to be treated with respect…in a nutshell.
(On the other side of the coin, some employees are just as awful. Stay tuned next week for part 2 where the tables turn, and I reflect on subpar customer service reps that I have been unlucky enough to experience…)