The typical day in retail as an employee consists of ringing up products for customers and helping them locate those products in the store when needing help finding them. Every hour or so you will be confronted by a customer who is looking for some type of assistance.
The customer can either be nice or rude in this scenario, if the customer happens to be nice then you’re in luck. These are the customers who greet employees with a smile and talk to them with positivity. If we can’t help the customer out then they understand entirely and say “thank you” anyway. This makes us feel good as employees and gives us a reason to keep working at the place we’re working at.
When dealing with a rude customer, the tables seem to turn. They come at you angrily and all they want to do is find out how much something costs or where something is in the store, as they have the right to do. These customers make you anxious and uncomfortable because you have to hold back all of the mean things that you want to say back to them.
While being as polite as possible you try your best to help them, if they don’t get the answer that they’re looking for then they make a scene and yell at you or even ask to speak to a manager. No matter what kind of customer you’re dealing with, it’s good to know how you should respond to each one.
Having an equal amount of respect for all customers can be challenging, especially when it comes to nice and rude customers. Remember, those customers aren't there to ruin your day on purpose, they probably having something stressful going on in their lives where they may have taken that anger out on you.
There are some things you can do to get more positive feedback from customers in your store but you have to be open to trying. These techniques also require consistency when it comes to practice as well, put in the work and you will start having more positive interactions with all kinds of customers.
At the end of the day, the relationship that you build with different people coming into the store is based on experience. The more customers you deal with in your life, the more you will be able to handle the different problems they have.
Don’t Cut Them Off While They’re Talking
Even if you know that a customer is wrong when stating an issue they have with the store, don’t cut them off. As hard as it is not too, what you’re doing here is dangerous. You’re setting up yourself for even more trouble between you and that customer.
Imagine if you were the customer in that same position and you’re trying to explain a problem you have, the last thing you would want is for someone to cut you off.
So, start practicing this when you’re talking to people even outside of work. If you talk to your family or friends on a daily basis then start looking out for the times where you cut someone off. Once you do notice this, try to stop right away or ask the person to forgive you. Let your friends and family hold you accountable while doing this practice. Have them tell you exactly when you cut them off so that you can become more aware of it.
This is the process of “holding our tounges” as some people will call it and it gets easier over time. It’s crucial to hear customers out when they have a problem. Even if you think you have a solution to their problem or you know more than they let them finish their entire sentence because you might miss something very important.
An example of this can be if a customer asks you where they can find dish soap in the store, you think about telling them that it’s by the kitchen essentials section of the store but then they further explain that they actually needed soap for their laundry. Do you see what could’ve happened here if you were to point them in the wrong direction? With you hearing them out and letting them finish their complete thought you would've prevented one less angry customer.
Remain Positive Around Them
I’m not saying that you have to be a positive person all day on your shift but should be when around customers. No customer likes to deal with a negative Nancy, it makes them think as the whole company to be negative. This can even lead to them complaining to the manager about your behavior which could potentially leave you without a job.
Do you like dealing with negative employees when you go shopping? I didn’t think so. Start being positive around your customers and you will see a major difference in their attitudes towards you. Work can be stressful and it can even be frustrating at times but just because the customer isn’t having a pleasant time at your establishment of work either doesn't mean you have to be negative towards them.
If anything, you should feel more empathy for them, use this empathy when talking to them. Let them know that you’re going to do your best to help them and that you feel their pain. This makes customers feel welcomed and understood which will help them to be more considerate toward you and the company as a whole.
If you want customers to come back to your store and buy more things then you should treat them with positivity. Be happy to see them, at the end of the day, they’re there contributing sales to your company and they’re keeping you from being unemployed.
Be thankful that the store you work at is still up and running, it may not be the easiest job in the world but it’s something to have. There are many people who are unemployed right now and don’t have the option to get a job. Having this gratitude will help you to be kinder to customers and let you bring in a sense of positivity when you come into work. Not only will the customers feel your good energy but your associates will too.
Get a Manager If Needed
Don’t try to overcomplicate things, don’t make the situation harder than it needs to be. If a customer is really giving you issues to the point where you feel like you can’t do anything else to help them then seek a manager. Let them know how a customer has been acting towards you and let them take care of the rest.
Managers have been trained to deal with customers like this and know the best thing to do in a scenario like this. Many times customers will start acting more accordingly once a manager is involved, it’s funny, it brings them to the realization that someone with higher power can remove them from the store.
What’s important about having your manager step in is that they’re always prepared to deal with customers. Even if you happen to be a manager when reading this then you know how crazy some customers can be.
Always guide a customer to someone who has higher authority for the company and see how they respond. Their problems seem to vanish after having a conversation with people in these positions.
Be the best employee you can be at all times and learn to start dealing with customers on a daily basis. Before you know it, their respect level will go up for you after you put in the work of being a better employee. I’ll leave you with a quote from Vince Lombardi that says
“It takes months to find a customer…seconds to lose one.”