Author Topic: How do you politely deal with impatient customers without loosing your cool?  (Read 4708 times)

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Cherry91

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A good thing to do is learn your company/business's policy on dealing with rude customers. The managers of the main job I had in retail allowed us to refuse service to rude customers and even walk away (all of the counters had employee only areas behind them, and the doors could even be locked) if we felt threatened.

Informing a customer that you don't have to put up with their rudeness takes the wind out of most "Customer is always right!" types.

kckgirl

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A good thing to do is learn your company/business's policy on dealing with rude customers. The managers of the main job I had in retail allowed us to refuse service to rude customers and even walk away (all of the counters had employee only areas behind them, and the doors could even be locked) if we felt threatened.

Informing a customer that you don't have to put up with their rudeness takes the wind out of most "Customer is always right!" types.

I am pretty sure that, in this situation, you would only make it worse following this advice. When the customer is beyond frustrated at a ridiculous setup, it is NOT the time to engage in retaliatory rudeness. Yes, I do believe telling the customer they are rude for being upset about a situation your company created would be rudeness on your part.
Maryland

Cherry91

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A good thing to do is learn your company/business's policy on dealing with rude customers. The managers of the main job I had in retail allowed us to refuse service to rude customers and even walk away (all of the counters had employee only areas behind them, and the doors could even be locked) if we felt threatened.

Informing a customer that you don't have to put up with their rudeness takes the wind out of most "Customer is always right!" types.

I am pretty sure that, in this situation, you would only make it worse following this advice. When the customer is beyond frustrated at a ridiculous setup, it is NOT the time to engage in retaliatory rudeness. Yes, I do believe telling the customer they are rude for being upset about a situation your company created would be rudeness on your part.

Informing someone that you don't have to put up with their abuse is hardly "retalitory rudeness". If a machine malfunctions, yes it's extremely frustrating, but it's not like the employee had anything to do with it. They don't deserve the customer taking out their frustrations at the machine on them.

shhh its me

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A good thing to do is learn your company/business's policy on dealing with rude customers. The managers of the main job I had in retail allowed us to refuse service to rude customers and even walk away (all of the counters had employee only areas behind them, and the doors could even be locked) if we felt threatened.

Informing a customer that you don't have to put up with their rudeness takes the wind out of most "Customer is always right!" types.

You did read that these customers were being locking in a parking garage for 20-30 minutes in some cases after doing nothing wrong in other cases after making a minor error? That's not really " the customer is always right" types.  While OP should never be threatened , replying to righteously angry snippy people with " If you continue this rudeness I'm leaving" while they are locked in and OP is there it get them out will likely only escalate the situation.   

Cherry91

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A good thing to do is learn your company/business's policy on dealing with rude customers. The managers of the main job I had in retail allowed us to refuse service to rude customers and even walk away (all of the counters had employee only areas behind them, and the doors could even be locked) if we felt threatened.

Informing a customer that you don't have to put up with their rudeness takes the wind out of most "Customer is always right!" types.

You did read that these customers were being locking in a parking garage for 20-30 minutes in some cases after doing nothing wrong in other cases after making a minor error? That's not really " the customer is always right" types.  While OP should never be threatened , replying to righteously angry snippy people with " If you continue this rudeness I'm leaving" while they are locked in and OP is there it get them out will likely only escalate the situation.

I did read it, yes. I also read the part where she said that one of the customer's complaints is that they shouldn't have to wait for someone to arrive. The OP did not deliberately lock the customer in, and I understand that the situation would be frustrating, even distressing if the customer is claustrophobic. That still does not make it ok for them to take it out on the OP.

I brought up being allowed to walk away if a customer became aggressive as an example of my own former work's policy. My advice was not to do this, but to find out what the OP's work's policy was in the situation she described. I apologise that this was unclear
« Last Edit: July 30, 2013, 06:57:51 AM by Cherry91 »

Oh Joy

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A customer and their property - and I presume any other customers behind them who want to leave - are essentially trapped in the business building for more than a couple of minutes, due to a bad procedure (not a one-off perfect storm).  Totally grounds for being livid, and I'm a very patient person.

Apologize and sympathize, then ask them for a favor (an act that changes dynamics) for future customers: please write a letter to Department XYZ at the University and describe their experience, because you're not in a position to change the system, but that department is.

Best wishes.

shhh its me

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A good thing to do is learn your company/business's policy on dealing with rude customers. The managers of the main job I had in retail allowed us to refuse service to rude customers and even walk away (all of the counters had employee only areas behind them, and the doors could even be locked) if we felt threatened.

Informing a customer that you don't have to put up with their rudeness takes the wind out of most "Customer is always right!" types.

You did read that these customers were being locking in a parking garage for 20-30 minutes in some cases after doing nothing wrong in other cases after making a minor error? That's not really " the customer is always right" types.  While OP should never be threatened , replying to righteously angry snippy people with " If you continue this rudeness I'm leaving" while they are locked in and OP is there it get them out will likely only escalate the situation.

I did read it, yes. I also read the part where she said that one of the customer's complaints is that they shouldn't have to wait for someone to arrive. The OP did not deliberately lock the customer in, and I understand that the situation would be frustrating, even distressing if the customer is claustrophobic. That still does not make it ok for them to take it out on the OP.

I brought up being allowed to walk away if a customer became aggressive as an example of my own former work's policy. My advice was not to do this, but to find out what the OP's work's policy was in the situation she described. I apologise that this was unclear

impatient does not = aggressive. impatient does not =rude even . OP didn't say she was being abused
"Why did I have to wait for a person?" is a reasonable question if the main office can raise the gate. " Why did I have to wait 20 minutes?" is a reasonable question , "why on earth do I have to wait for a second person(who is not a repair person but simple the only person who can open the gate)?" is a more then reasonable question. 

Goosey

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A good thing to do is learn your company/business's policy on dealing with rude customers. The managers of the main job I had in retail allowed us to refuse service to rude customers and even walk away (all of the counters had employee only areas behind them, and the doors could even be locked) if we felt threatened.

Informing a customer that you don't have to put up with their rudeness takes the wind out of most "Customer is always right!" types.

You did read that these customers were being locking in a parking garage for 20-30 minutes in some cases after doing nothing wrong in other cases after making a minor error? That's not really " the customer is always right" types.  While OP should never be threatened , replying to righteously angry snippy people with " If you continue this rudeness I'm leaving" while they are locked in and OP is there it get them out will likely only escalate the situation.

I did read it, yes. I also read the part where she said that one of the customer's complaints is that they shouldn't have to wait for someone to arrive. The OP did not deliberately lock the customer in, and I understand that the situation would be frustrating, even distressing if the customer is claustrophobic. That still does not make it ok for them to take it out on the OP.

I brought up being allowed to walk away if a customer became aggressive as an example of my own former work's policy. My advice was not to do this, but to find out what the OP's work's policy was in the situation she described. I apologise that this was unclear

impatient does not = aggressive. impatient does not =rude even . OP didn't say she was being abused
"Why did I have to wait for a person?" is a reasonable question if the main office can raise the gate. " Why did I have to wait 20 minutes?" is a reasonable question , "why on earth do I have to wait for a second person(who is not a repair person but simple the only person who can open the gate)?" is a more then reasonable question.
The thing is, they SHOULDN'T have to wait for someone to get there. There should be someone there! Ideally, the gate that I assume they paid for the privilege of opening should be working. It sounds like there's a lot of passing around information before they can actually get someone out there to let these poor people out. There should be a much faster way - especially if this is a repeat issue. So, when someone has been waiting for 10 minutes already and they're told they will have to wait longer, I can see the "I shouldn't have to wait for someone!" response. At that point, the OP should be apologizing.

Piratelvr1121

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30 minutes? If I was stuck in a parking garage for 30 minutes I would not be upset. I would be freaking ballistic. I would try not to take it out on innocent bystanders, but I would be beyond  rage filled. I can rarely think of a time where that would not make me miss rather important commitments.

Even if it was only 5 minutes, I would be seriously, seriously disgruntled. (And not to go all parents-have-it worst on this thread, but I have a 5 month baby who doesn't like it when she is in a car that is not moving. 5 minutes with a screaming baby in a car is about 7 hours too long)

I have an almost 22 month old son who hates sitting in the car for too long when it's moving, and really hates when it stops for longer than a stop light.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.  You have a right to be here. Be cheerful, strive to be happy. -Desiderata

Twik

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As I said, this is a no-win situation for the OP. She can't control the procedure, but she is the "face" of the organization, and people are likely to express their frustration with them by getting angry with her.

The only thing I can suggest is to try to show that you and they are on the same side. Both are being frustrated in their efforts to get the car out of the garage. If possible, I like the idea of telling them to send formal complaints to management; however, it depends on whether management will see this as insubordination.
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shhh its me

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A good thing to do is learn your company/business's policy on dealing with rude customers. The managers of the main job I had in retail allowed us to refuse service to rude customers and even walk away (all of the counters had employee only areas behind them, and the doors could even be locked) if we felt threatened.

Informing a customer that you don't have to put up with their rudeness takes the wind out of most "Customer is always right!" types.

You did read that these customers were being locking in a parking garage for 20-30 minutes in some cases after doing nothing wrong in other cases after making a minor error? That's not really " the customer is always right" types.  While OP should never be threatened , replying to righteously angry snippy people with " If you continue this rudeness I'm leaving" while they are locked in and OP is there it get them out will likely only escalate the situation.

I did read it, yes. I also read the part where she said that one of the customer's complaints is that they shouldn't have to wait for someone to arrive. The OP did not deliberately lock the customer in, and I understand that the situation would be frustrating, even distressing if the customer is claustrophobic. That still does not make it ok for them to take it out on the OP.

I brought up being allowed to walk away if a customer became aggressive as an example of my own former work's policy. My advice was not to do this, but to find out what the OP's work's policy was in the situation she described. I apologise that this was unclear

impatient does not = aggressive. impatient does not =rude even . OP didn't say she was being abused
"Why did I have to wait for a person?" is a reasonable question if the main office can raise the gate. " Why did I have to wait 20 minutes?" is a reasonable question , "why on earth do I have to wait for a second person(who is not a repair person but simple the only person who can open the gate)?" is a more then reasonable question.

I had to leave before I could finish my reply..........

"the customer is always right " types, assuming by this you mean unreasonable demanding brats advice doesn't apply to this case.  By mentioning it you seem to be implying these people are the "customer is always right " types, maybe I misunderstood that.  People may back down when they are being complete ridiculous but when someone is right treating them like special snowflakes may back fire dramatically.

I disagree with the premiss "I didn't cause it so don't express angry to me" if you're being paid to directly interact with customers you are being paid to deal with angry customers. Please be aware I'm saying this as the person who has to deal with angry customers not a customer, its part of my job. Since OP has said they are getting impatient after being informed they have to wait for a second person tying to defuse the situation before the customer become rude. 

OP you may aslo want to try to inform them  why it took you 20 minutes to get to them.  "hello , you've been here awhile. I had to come from the lot 5 miles away", "I was fixing the gate in lot B when you got stuck" type thing.

There may be another issue , I believe this is the same employer whose pay machines weren't working properly a couple years ago. IF the customers know that these issues have been getting worse an worse they are liking to be madder. If its lot people park in once or twice in a lifetime that may not apply but if people park there regularly or it's an employee parking lot people will know there is a overall maintenance issue.   

DottyG

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30 minutes? If I was stuck in a parking garage for 30 minutes I would not be upset. I would be freaking ballistic. I would try not to take it out on innocent bystanders, but I would be beyond  rage filled. I can rarely think of a time where that would not make me miss rather important commitments.

Even if it was only 5 minutes, I would be seriously, seriously disgruntled. (And not to go all parents-have-it worst on this thread, but I have a 5 month baby who doesn't like it when she is in a car that is not moving. 5 minutes with a screaming baby in a car is about 7 hours too long)

I have an almost 22 month old son who hates sitting in the car for too long when it's moving, and really hates when it stops for longer than a stop light.

I have a 40-something year old in my car that hates sitting in the car too long when it's not moving and gets cranky when stopped like this.  Me.


DottyG

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A good thing to do is learn your company/business's policy on dealing with rude customers. The managers of the main job I had in retail allowed us to refuse service to rude customers and even walk away (all of the counters had employee only areas behind them, and the doors could even be locked) if we felt threatened.

Informing a customer that you don't have to put up with their rudeness takes the wind out of most "Customer is always right!" types.

I am pretty sure that, in this situation, you would only make it worse following this advice. When the customer is beyond frustrated at a ridiculous setup, it is NOT the time to engage in retaliatory rudeness. Yes, I do believe telling the customer they are rude for being upset about a situation your company created would be rudeness on your part.

Absolutely.  If a worker walked off like that, they'd be in a lot more trouble than they could imagine.  I'd be raising all kinds of heck if this happened.


Virg

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Cherry91 wrote:

"Informing someone that you don't have to put up with their abuse is hardly "retalitory rudeness". If a machine malfunctions, yes it's extremely frustrating, but it's not like the employee had anything to do with it. They don't deserve the customer taking out their frustrations at the machine on them."

The problem here is that there's several things to be frustrated about.  If I was stuck like snugglegirl05's customers, I'd be a bit irritated at the gate malfunction but I'd be livid that it took 10-30 minutes for a person to show up to deal with the issue, and I'd be beyond that to find that the person who showed up to help couldn't help me and that this foolishness required me to wait even longer for another person to show up.  If I was to take out my frustrations at all, it would be because of the ludicrous delay in getting assistance with the problem, which is everything to do with the employees.  To be honest, I wouldn't particularly care at that point whether the person who showed up had any control over the situation, which is why the above suggestions to empathize with the customer and acknowledge their frustration is a very good idea, no matter what the company policy on dealing with rude customers is.  Someone who did empathize would help me keep my cool a lot better than someone who considered me rude because I was justifiably angry.

Virg