I’ve heard some frightening stories lately about customers assaulting employees or managers of retail establishments. And, it wasn’t because of a lack of service.
It was because of an expectation on the part of the customer.
Many years ago when I managed some office furniture stores there was a situation in which my delivery and installation people were delivering some furniture to the home of a customer. When they arrived the customer was intoxicated, belligerent, and verbally abusive to my people. This customer was swearing and calling them names. When they called me while at the customer’s home, I told them to stop what they were doing and come back to the store. I then talked to the customer and requested that they no longer come to our store.
You see, while “the customer is always right,” the customer doesn’t have all rights!
The customer DOESN’T have the right to:
- Denigrate, swear at, or call employees names
- Yell and scream at management
- Get physically invasive while expressing frustration with a situation.
As a friend said to me once, “it’s not about who’s right, but what’s right.”
Dear customer: here is the best way, the right way, to interact with those who are working on your behalf—whether it be a server at a restaurant, retail salesperson, or any other role we encounter in our purchase process:
- View them as your son, daughter, spouse, or friend. Because they are someone’s son, daughter, spouse, and friend.
- Understand, the vast majority of people who serve you want you to be happy
- Treat them with respect. If you want to be respected, then be respectful.
- Double check your expectations. It’s possible they actually can’t deliver what you think they can or “should” deliver, in terms of products or services.
We’re in this world together, so let’s make it work together by being respectful together.