Deal with Rude Customers

Edited by Jonathan, Anonymous, Lynn, Doug Collins

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Many companies have a motto about the customer like, "The Customer is King" or "The Customer is Always Right". But what if you, the company employee, who is servicing a client, are at the end of your rope, trying to appease a rude customer. When the client has been very difficult to please and has been requesting so many things that ultimately will make him "bad business" what should you do? Sometimes you don't want to go to your management because you don't want them to think you can't handle customers.

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This is a scenario in the workplace which no employee wants to experience, but somewhere along the way, it will happen to you. What to do? Read on so that you can find some tips and information that will be helpful for you to win over the customer without wasting too much of your time.

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Why is it that for some co-workers, a certain customer is rude, while for you, he is a pleasant customer?

It depends on the employee's approach to the customer. Perhaps he says the right words, has appropriate timing, knows the customer's personality and his likes and dislikes, and understands the things he wants to talk about and the services that are important to him. For example, your first greeting of the day for the customer may be, "Good day, Mr. Green. What would you like to drink today? Tea or coffee?" On the other hand, your colleague's opening line is, "Sir, so how did your meeting with the mayor go?" or "So who was that pretty gal you were with last night?"

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Your approach was pleasant, but that of your colleague was far more personal. It sounded as if he is talking to the customer on the same level, not putting the customer on a pedestal, without being too obvious. Also, commenting on the meeting with the mayor and his gal date is too personal and none of the business of your colleague.

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Know your limits in communicating with your customer.

Can you create an atmosphere where a customer will be less likely to become rude?

  1. 1
    Yes, you can.
    If your workplace is well ventilated, air conditioned (if hot climate), well heated (if cold climate), clean/sanitized, well lighted (if office, light should be bright, if fine dining restaurant, yellow light), there is a better chance that the customer will have a pleasant disposition in dealing with you.
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  2. 2
    If your workplace has peeling paint on the walls and the ceilings, that is really bad for the customer's temper.
    It sends out the message to customers that management does not care about the appearance of their business and he will suspect that the company renders sloppy service, defective products, or ineffective products. Just because of peeling paint, all kinds of negative thoughts will enter the customer's mind about your business, even if they are not true.
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  3. 3
    You might think that the nature of your business means it does not require maintenance of the walls and the ceilings, or a sanitized environment (such as hardware stores, repair shops, etc.), and you say that your customers actually expect greasy floors and used car oil spattered on the walls, but in reality, the customer would appreciate being able to conduct business in a pleasant environment.
    However, when you're having minor car repairs done on your car, wouldn't you rather wait in an air-conditioned customer lounge?
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  4. 4
    The choice of colors in the workplace is also important if you want a pleasant mood from your customer.
    Blue is calm and soothing. Pink diminishes the feelings of irritability, aggressiveness, and burden. Orange helps relax the emotions and boosts enthusiasm for life.
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  5. 5
    Make sure there are pleasant smells for the workplace.
    Using productivity studies, when gassing up at a gas station with a convenience store, the faint smell of coffee will encourage the tired customer to buy a cup of the brew. And toy stores have discovered that the smell of pina colada will make parents stay longer and increases the chances that they will make a toy purchase.
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  6. 6
    Minimize noise.
    Materials enhancing acoustic soundness in the workplace are now very much in demand for the workplace. Not only will the concerns of the customer be better heard with clarity, but studies show that noise control also enhances employee productivity.
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  7. 7
    Indoor air quality and cleanliness.
    Urbanites will spend 90 percent of their time indoors. Therefore, management should find some air purifying scheme for the office so that sick building syndrome and respiratory illnesses will not cause the employees to use their sick leave benefits. And for sure, the hot- tempered customer will simmer down in such an environment.
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  8. 8
    Enabling the customer to have a view of nature (trees, flowers, roaming animals, birds, etc.) can make him forget about his anger about the delay of his shipment (at a freight forwarding business) or the bland taste of his food (in a restaurant).
    Nature has a way of soothing the nerves and you can avail of it's goodness in your business.
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Where do you draw the line between providing excellent customer service and dealing with a rude customer?

  1. 1
    If a customer has become abusive and had even gone beyond your freebies and other compromises you have tried to make with your profits and your service, and still wants more.
    In addition, he treats your staff rudely, does not give verbal compliments when it is duly warranted, does not give tips (depending on the nature of your business), and he is just overall, an unpleasant customer. This is someone who your staff, if given the chance, will turn their back on and give all kinds of excuses so as not to give him excellent service.
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  2. 2
    If the customer turns violent on the premises, this is a no no.
    If you have security staff in the vicinity, pin him down immediately, do no more, and call the police. The police force will deal with him. Striking him down while he is on your premises can prime you to be sued in court.
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  3. 3
    When your staff is being called names repeatedly, even after being given chances not to do it again, be firm and ask the customer to leave the premises.
    He is violating the basic human rights of your employees to be treated with respect.
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  4. 4
    The customer should know that when he is dealing with your business, he should disregard his cellphone or mute it during the duration he is transacting business with you.
    It is unfair to your staff (he might have a number of customers quota) and to your business because he might take too long if he answers calls on his cell phone. He is infringing on your company time and the opportunity costs of bringing in sales for the company.
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Categories : Noindexed pages | Communications & Education

Recent edits by: Lynn, Anonymous, Jonathan

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