Rude Customers

Thanks to Adi Goldstein @adigold1 for making this photo available freely on Unsplash 🎁

Hi friends, hope we’re all keeping well.

So, for those who might not know, I’ve worked in a takeaway shop, which is also a restaurant, for quite some time now. I also picked up a bar job during my summer break, which was a nice experience.

Thus, I think it would be fair to say I’ve accumulated a decent amount of experience working in the service industry. And while it certainly has its ups, like meeting genuinely interesting people and being able to improve your interpersonal skills, there are certainly many downs to the industry-such as having to deal with rude customers from time to time.

I would definitely say I meet one rude customer for roughly every 50 regular customers I serve, so they’re definitely not a tremendous problem I experience often.

That said, they’re still a problem.

Like, PSA announcement here guys, please don’t blame the person at the counter for any troubles you have with your shopping experience. 9 times out of 10 it’s a problem that’s outside of their control, and can’t do anything about. Of course, it’s definitely recommended to tell them about the problem you have and let them know, but please do not berate them for it or expect them to remedy the problem immediately.

The person working at the counter is a human too, please treat them like one🤦🏻‍♂️

Over the years, I think I’ve found some ways to deal with these ‘rude customers’ too. So, for those of you working in any sort of hospitality industry, allow me to share some tips and insights on how I frequently handle rude and angry customers, from a few years of working in a takeaway shop and restaurant.

🤲🏻Sympathise and Empathise🤲🏻

Most of the time, a customer isn’t even trying to be rude, and it’s important to remember that. Think of the third story, avoid the fundamental attribution error, and deploy the most respectful interpretation.

Many times they’re just a bit frustrated, but it has been amplified because of their hunger. Once they get a full stomach, the bulk of their anger usually quickly subsides.

So, when they’re complaining with you always give your best effort to actually listen to their problem and reassure them that you understand. A bit of understanding can go a long way.

🔁Repeat what the Customer Said🔁

This is another way to let the customer know you fully understand their problem. Don’t just say:

“Ah yes, I understand I understand. But I assure you that…”

You can rehearse that line for any and every complaint. Instead, make sure you let them know you understand their problem by repeating it back to them.

“Okay, I see. What you’re saying is…did I understand that right?”

Then you follow that up with an explanation of the problem, and of course apologise that they’re experiencing this problem.

😔Apologise and Accept Full Responsibility😔

The easiest and quickest way to quell a customer’s anger and rudeness, is to instantly open up with an apology, and a full acceptance of responsibility of the problem they’re having; whether it be a wrong order, slow delivery, or just a bad experience.

At the end of the day, the person on the other side did give your place a shot, so it’s important to treat them with respect. I usually try think of every ‘rude customer’ interaction as the possible last time they ever order from here, and try make sure I can retain them.

(That said, sometimes you’re also going to come across people who are just rude for the sake of being rude. Don’t ever take anything they say to heart. People who are rude for the sake of wasting your time and making you have a bad day truly don’t have anything else to do in their life. Feel sorry for them that this is what they do with their one life, hope they can be better, then move on. 👍🏼)

Hopefully I can help some of you out in dealing with rude customers with this post. They’re a sad inevitability in the grand scheme of life, so I believe it’s better to get used to them early on rather than later down the line, so you eventually grow your own thick skin.

Thanks for reading if you made it this far, stay safe 👋🏼

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