Author Topic: when a customer witnesses rudeness...  (Read 2727 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

TootsNYC

  • A Pillar of the Forum
  • *****
  • Posts: 30648
when a customer witnesses rudeness...
« on: August 03, 2013, 10:02:10 AM »
Here's a REALLY cool article about the effect of rudeness or unpleasantness on the onlookers. The focus is mostly about workplace rudeness or meanness, but I think it extrapolates elsewhere.

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/38310679/ns/health-behavior/t/how-rude-why-boorish-behavior-makes-us-cringe/#.Uf0GQWTwLXF


My favorite part:

Quote
people get so disturbed when they witness an episode of rudeness that it measurably affects their creativity and performance.


I was just talking about this on Thursday w/ a former colleague. A guy we'd worked with got really upset that we were having a potluck lunch on the last day of deadline, because he thought that we were going to miss deadlines (workflow was his responsibility). And he was NASTY about it--slamming his door whenever he went back into his office, speaking shortly to people, slapping things down on the desk or table in front of them, etc.

I went to his boss/our boss and said, "You need to get him to stop, not just because it's rude, but because every time he does it, it's like a little shock to the system of 'how we work,' and people react to that by venting as an attempt to 'coat the wound with salve.' And it's costing us time and energy that's better spent on the deadline. Plus, people can't *think* well when they're upset. And even if he's not being rude to the top staffers, they're witnessing it, and it has the same effect."

What have you seen, in terms of how rudeness affects your willingness to patronize a business?

Or in terms of how it affects the effectiveness at the workplace?

siamesecat2965

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 8708
Re: when a customer witnesses rudeness...
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2013, 12:59:19 PM »
Not so much in the workplace, but as a customer, and one who also works in retail (my PT job). I'm more likely to not come back to a store if i witness rudeness on the part of the staff. whether its directed at me, or another customer. If they treat someone else like that, who's to say they won't do the same to me, or if I'm on the receiving end, no way I'm going back.

Along those same lines, and I mention it as its a dealbreaker for me, and I find it rude, not being greeted or acknowledge in any way when I enter a business. if I walk into a store, and everyone ignores me, I walk right back out, and unless it was a one-time thing, I don't go back.

Minmom3

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2426
Re: when a customer witnesses rudeness...
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2013, 01:28:19 PM »
I quit a dentists practice (as a patient) one time because of the dentist berating the hygienist OVER ME as I lay reclined on the chair!  I was mortally offended by his behavior, and I felt horrible for the poor girl.  When I was finished and paying my bill, I asked to speak to the office manager.  She came up, and I told her that I would not come back because of this event.  That I thought it was extremely unprofessional to not pull her aside and very quietly tell her what she had done wrong, and how she should have done whatever the heck it was.  I said I didn't know what the poor girl had done, but she'd been perfectly polite to ME, and hadn't caused ME any pain, and if he thought that berating her over my belly was the way to behave, he was sadly mistaken.  She told me I was not the first person to quit their practice for that reason.  It was pre-Yelp days, so that was the end of it, but if it happened nowadays, I'd be trumpeting it all over social media.  I told everybody I knew...
Mother to children and fuzz butts....

*inviteseller

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1821
  • I am Queen Mommy
Re: when a customer witnesses rudeness...
« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2013, 01:33:03 PM »
I had my DD at a McDonalds one time..a rare treat as I abhor fast food but right after we sat down, the manager on duty went OFF on an employee.  The teen girl kept trying to tell him something and he was yelling at her from his side of the counter (she was on the customer side).  Everyone was staring at them and it affected my and my DD's meal.  I walked up to the counter when he was done tirading and said to another woman wearing a manager tag "Do you guys normally scream at employees so publicly or was that the floor show for the evening?"  She just looked at me then said "How we talk to our employees is none of your business."  I walked back to the table, took my DD's hand and our tray of barely touched food, walked back to the counter, set it down and said "You ruined our meal, I would like my money back."  She was shocked, but gave me my money back, we walked out without another word and I have never been back..9 years.  I have worked in retail for more years than I care to admit to, both as a regular worker and as management and one of the first rules is never berate an employee in front of anyone.  I walked out of my last job because of treatment like that that had gotten out of hand and I wouldn't shop/eat/patronize any place that I saw treatment like that.

weeblewobble

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3318
Re: when a customer witnesses rudeness...
« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2013, 02:06:56 PM »
I quit a dentists practice (as a patient) one time because of the dentist berating the hygienist OVER ME as I lay reclined on the chair!  I was mortally offended by his behavior, and I felt horrible for the poor girl.  When I was finished and paying my bill, I asked to speak to the office manager.  She came up, and I told her that I would not come back because of this event.  That I thought it was extremely unprofessional to not pull her aside and very quietly tell her what she had done wrong, and how she should have done whatever the heck it was.  I said I didn't know what the poor girl had done, but she'd been perfectly polite to ME, and hadn't caused ME any pain, and if he thought that berating her over my belly was the way to behave, he was sadly mistaken.  She told me I was not the first person to quit their practice for that reason.  It was pre-Yelp days, so that was the end of it, but if it happened nowadays, I'd be trumpeting it all over social media.  I told everybody I knew...

My husband stopped going to his long time dentist after he saw the receptionist being horribly rude to a young woman with her  6yo son.  The woman was five minutes EARLY signing in for her child's appointment, but the receptionist insisted that the woman had arrived too late for the appointment and that the dentist had just left for an early lunch since the woman "couldn't be bothered to show up on time."  The woman objected, the receptionist's rudeness escalated (implying that the woman was a bad mother) and when the woman tried to reschedule, the receptionist refused to do so and told the woman to call back in a few weeks.

The funny thing was that the receptionist (who had only worked there a few years) had been rude to DH on several occasions, and he didn't think about leaving the practice.  But seeing the receptionist treat another person that way (particular a woman who happened to remind him of his wife) made him mad enough to immediately request his records so he could go to another dentist.  He saw how the woman was being treated, thought about he would feel if someone treated me that way, and that was it for him.  I think we're more likely to act on behalf of others than we are for ourselves.


ETA: If what the receptionist said was true,  I think the dentist was also rude to leave five minutes before an appointment to go to lunch.
« Last Edit: August 03, 2013, 02:09:50 PM by weeblewobble »

Sharnita

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 21470
Re: when a customer witnesses rudeness...
« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2013, 02:21:55 PM »
You know, in that case I wonder if the dentist caused the receptionist to become defensively rude over time.  If he is the kind of guy who leaves early because patients don't show up early enough then she is stuck with his dirty work.  After a while she might adopt his attitude just to survive in the workplace.

JoieGirl7

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 7351
Re: when a customer witnesses rudeness...
« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2013, 05:51:06 PM »
Well, there is rudeness and there is rudeness.  i don't know that it is really rudeness but an abusive attitude that is the culprit.  Certainly, its rude to behave that way.  It's just a certain kind of rudeness.

I don't think people react the same way to someone just being cluelessly rude or even insulting.  It's when it causes, as was described, a shock to the system that it affect the morale of everyone else.

I left my job 8 years ago because of this.  There was outright verbal abuse, and harrassment.  And because of that, the smaller rudenesse were amplified.

A person who was above me but not my supervisor was constantly harrassing.  Oe of his underlings was outright abusive, yelling at me, etc.  It got to the point where I would have butterflies in my stomach on the way to work.

And the "boss" did nothing at all to stop it.

For awhile I thought I should tough it out because I didnt want them to "win" but I finakky realized that by leaving I won because I didnt have to exist in that hostile atmosphere anymore.

Witnessing others' abuse and hostility is toxic.

snappylt

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 458
Re: when a customer witnesses rudeness...
« Reply #7 on: August 03, 2013, 09:50:52 PM »
Toots,

What an interesting topic to bring up.

Yes, I believe customers witnessing witnessing rudeness can indeed impact the future of a business.

Background Over five years ago my family an I moved out to the countryside in the very far far outer suburbs of an American city.  (This is my wife's dream location - she loves being out in the country.  I sort of miss being close to stores and activities, but that's another whole story.)

It's about ten miles to the closest grocery store in a small town.  It's an expensive grocery store - a small regional grocery chain with high prices that serves only small towns.  (I suspect their prices are too high for them to be able to compete in places where there are other grocery stores.)

story One of the first weeks after we moved, my wife went shopping at the small town store.  She came home and told me how awful it was - not the store itself, but the behavior of the manager.  The manager had been furious with one of the cashiers about a mistake with the register and has chewed her out thoroughly right there in front of all the customers.  It made my wife very uncomfortable - so uncomfortable that my wife rarely ever shops in that store.

I witnessed the same thing a few weeks later.  (I assume from my wife's description that it was the same manager I saw in action, too.) The cashier had made a mistake and rang up one too many of an item.  (This little grocery store chain apparently does not trust their cashiers to correct their own mistakes.  At the bigger grocery stores closer to the city, I've noticed, if a cashier rings up an extra of an item, he or she can correct the mistake independently and quickly.  But at the little chain, a manager with a special key and code number must come over, take a look at the situation and decide whether or not to fix the cashier's mistake.)

Well, the nasty manager was on duty again, and he got angry with the cashier and thoroughly berated her right there in front of me before he fixed her mistake.

I'm ashamed of myself that I was too shocked at the time to say anything.  (I wish I had spoken up!)

I did make a point of thanking the cashier nicely when the ordeal was over though.


So - that manager's rudeness lost them one customer - my wife.

I think (and hope) that the nasty manager got what he deserved, though.  I only continued to see him there for another couple of months, and then I stopped ever seeing him when I shopped.  I'd like to hope that higher ups in the company realized he was driving customers away and sent him packing.  (But cynical Snappy wonders if they probably just transferred him to another store in a different small town.)




darling

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 298
Re: when a customer witnesses rudeness...
« Reply #8 on: August 05, 2013, 11:24:24 AM »
A couple of months ago, a friend an I went to a restaurant about 20 minutes before closing (8:38pm when we walked in the door, and apparently they closed at 9). We were exhausted after working at an event all day, and this was the first real chance we had had to get some warm food (outdoor event, raining, cold, etc). As we walked in, the waitress behind the counter was on the phone with someone who wanted to know if they could get take-out. She snapped that it was only 10 minutes before closing, so if they were going to pick it up, they would have to be on time, and she didn't know if the kitchen had enough time to complete their order.

The manager came out to seat us, and I asked if we had enough time to order. Of course, he assured us. We looked at the menu, and were still waiting for someone to come around for us to order when the waitress got off the phone and started venting loudly to another co-worker, "We close at 9 o'clock, not 9:15, not 9:05. 9 O'CLOCK". I just looked at my friend, thought a minute, then just told her sorry, that I couldn't eat there. We left our menus on the table, and walked out of the door. We were not the only people in the restaurant, either, and everyone saw us leave (because they were looking at the loud-mouthed waitress in horror, and we had to walk past her to get out).

We ended up at a restaurant across the street that also was closing at 9. The nice young waitress welcomed us when we came in, seated us immediately with menus and water, and we had prompt, friendly service, and the food was quick, hot, and amazing. We were out the door at 9:05 pm, having spent about $40 between us (we were starving! Nothing but cheese and crackers all day will do that!), and left a very nice tip (I think we left her about $10). We will be making a point to go back next year, and told everyone about the amazing food.  :D

So yes, rudeness does affect more than the people immediately receiving it. I'd like to think that our leaving the first restaurant made an impression on that waitress, but she didn't seem like the type that would care, and would blame us if she did end up getting reprimanded or fired (this was not a younger woman who might have been clueless. This woman was about 50. Old enough to know better.).

siamesecat2965

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 8708
Re: when a customer witnesses rudeness...
« Reply #9 on: August 05, 2013, 12:49:11 PM »


So yes, rudeness does affect more than the people immediately receiving it. I'd like to think that our leaving the first restaurant made an impression on that waitress, but she didn't seem like the type that would care, and would blame us if she did end up getting reprimanded or fired (this was not a younger woman who might have been clueless. This woman was about 50. Old enough to know better.).

Probably not. She was probably put out that due to customers still in the restaurant, and you walking in fairly close to closing, she might not be getting out on time. I will admit to feeling a bit irritated at times at my retail job when we have stragglers.

but...I just smile, and continue to be friendly and helpful, while trying to get them out, when inside I'm screaming "come on, you KNOW we closed 15 minutes ago, so put down the clothes, bring them to pay and get out!" however, if i ever said any of that out loud, i'd be shown the door so fast my head would spin!

I'm not saying you were in the wrong; the manager assured you you had plenty of time, but the waitresses' attitude was uncalled for.