The customer isn’t always right, unfortunately. The vast majority of customers are pretty friendly, but there’s a very vocal minority of super-rude individuals who can make your life hell if you let them.
Reddit user Amaranthinenightmare, who used to work at a popular department store and was incredibly stressed out, posted her story about dealing with an incredibly rude female customer who was having a go at her. Well, the Redditor had an incredibly witty comeback about the woman looking old, which shut her up for good. Amaranthinenightmare 1, Rude customer 0.
Be sure to scroll down for Bored Panda’s interview with Alexander Kjerulf of Positive Sharing about how to treat store employees, and what they should do if they encounter a rude customer.
An annoying customer behaved very rudely with a department store employee
The employee had an epic comeback
When Amaranthinenightmare worked as a department store supervisor, she was covering somebody’s break at the registers when she was approached by a customer with a serious attitude. The straw that broke the camel’s back was when the woman started yelling about poor customer service after the supervisor rejected her unusable coupons.
“On the bright side, since it’s Tuesday I can still apply your senior’s discount! So at least you aren’t losing that one, right?” the Redditor hit back, which completely shocked the customer who replied that she wasn’t a senior. That’s when Amaranthinenightmare struck again, this time taking away the discount which amounted to a very sizeable 20 dollars.
The department store employee’s post went viral with over 26,900 people thinking it was interesting and engaging enough to upvote on Reddit. More than 530 people also commented on the story, while the Redditor also received a Platinum Award, 6 Gold Awards, and 4 Silver Awards. That’s enough to start her own virtual trophy case.
Positive Sharing argues that there are several reasons why the idea that the customer is always right is actually wrong, as it leads to bad customer service, ironically. According to the blog, treating customers as royalty is bad for company morale because it shows that you side with them and not your employees, who are the lifeblood of your business.
What’s more, this kind of thinking means that your company is ripe for abuse: we all know that some customers will do absolutely anything for a discount or a service that they wouldn’t normally qualify for. Also, the harsh truth is that not all customers are equally good for your business — it’s best to let some of them go if they’re abusive to your staff. Positive Sharing writes that putting employees first, rather than customers, results in the best possible results for everyone.
Have you come into contact with any rude customers at your work? Share your stories in the comments below, and let us know what you think is the best way to deal with them.
Alexander Kjerulf of Positive Sharing told Bored Panda what staff members should do when confronted with incredibly rude customers: “Keep your cool and remember that whatever abuse they’re giving you is no reflection on you as a person. That customer doesn’t even know you, so there’s no way it could be. But on the other hand, don’t be subservient. Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself and tell customers that abuse is not tolerated. And if it persists, hand them over to a manager as soon as you can and let them deal with it.”
“I just talked to the former CEO of mobile phone company Call Me in Denmark. She told me that they trained their customer service reps to stand up to bullying customers. First they’d tell the customer “We don’t accept abuse – please stop yelling at me.” If the behavior persisted, the employee would hang up. If the customer called back and kept up the abuse, the call would be escalated to a manager, who would tell the customer: “There are over 20 other mobile phone companies in Denmark to choose from. We don’t feel you’re a good fit for us, so we will be terminating your contract.”
Alexander explained that “You have to remember that in many cases a customer who behaves badly is not necessarily a bad person — it can be a good person having a bad day and that’s why they’re acting out. But the sad truth is that some customers act this way because they’ve learned that it works and will get them discounts or preferential treatment.”
He also added that a better motto than ‘the customer is always right’ would be ‘be nice – or at least don’t be a dick.’ “And this goes for both customers and employees. Whenever I’m a customer anywhere, I always try to be kind and positive to the staff — even when occasionally I have to complain about something. It’s literally the least I can do.”