If you’re lucky / unfortunate (delete as appropriate) enough to work in retail, you’ll know that difficult customers are part and parcel of the daily grind. Whilst it’s too easy to immediately lose your temper and start insulting shoppers every time they annoy you, your commitment to your employer and more importantly, to paying the rent means that a more professional approach is required.
Here’s how to deal with difficult retail customers in the same way Craig Feldspar from hit TV show Malcolm in the Middle would – and yes, we know that Craig was annoying and obnoxious, but if he can keep his lopsided personality in check then so can you!
1. Be courteous
It’s important that you commence any interaction with a customer in a courteous and professional manner. If somebody is out to make your nightmare of a day even worse, you’ll need to disarm them with a demeanour that suggests your more than happy to help. This is one of the reasons why out of work actors are particularly well suited to the retail world.
2. Beware of experts
Whilst some customers can be easily fobbed off with a wave of the hand, the most difficult ones tend to be experts at being difficult and will therefore use the limited knowledge they have of your product range to become pedantic about the minimal differences between them.
3. Use your superior knowledge of the store’s layout
Remember – YOU are the expert here and it’s your job to use the week of staff training you received during your induction to guide the customer towards making a purchase…………no matter how bad their eyesight is!!
4. Understand that the customer may have very specific product requirements
Difficult customers by their very nature tend to have highly specified product requirements. It’s therefore your job to ensure that you listen to their demands and try to accommodate them wherever possible – even if they’re starting to get really, really annoying!
5. Try to over deliver on service if you can
The customer may ask you to do things that are over and above the service that you would normally provide, but rather than see this as extra work, you should look on it as an opportunity to show that you care for the customer’s wishes no matter how unreasonable they are starting to get.
6. Don’t expect thanks
No matter how much extra work you have to do to try and accommodate the customer’s increasingly cantankerous and demanding behaviour, it’s important to remember that you are the professional and as such, you should not necessarily expect to be thanked for all the extra work you are doing on their behalf.
7. Try to stay calm
Just because you’d now feel morally justified in grabbing your customer by the throat and throttling them until they stop breathing, this doesn’t mean you can. You may be summoning every inch of restraint that is left inside you, but your professionalism must come first. Think of happier times when you were doing something else, or maybe it would help if you just imagine throttling the customer?
8. Try harder…….
You might not earn anything close to what Jesus did, but you’ll still need to adopt his ability to forgive those that trespass against him. Perhaps saying a prayer would be a good idea right now because it’ll require divine intervention to prevent you from force feeding one of the dog toys to the customer!
9. Hang in there if you can
Not long to go now. If you can just keep your composure until the customer trots off on their merry way, it’ll be a job well done. You can do it!
10…………but fair play, you’re not Superman!
It’s a good job she didn’t bring the dog with her or things might have been a whole lot worse…….
(Picture Source: Imgur)