Friday, April 11th, 2008
Employees get in sticky situations with customers because of various reasons. When the customer complains the manager brings the employees into their office to reprimand them. This has happened to me and millions of other employees. This happens because of two reasons:
Manager fails to listen to the employee’s explanation
The employee fails to speak up
We need to improve this communication gap in the workplace by not jumping to conclusions. Alex Kjerulf of Chief Happiness Officer wrote an article, Top 5 Reasons Why the “Customer is Always Right” is Wrong.
The fact is that some customers are just plain wrong, that businesses are better off without them, and that managers siding with unreasonable customers over employees is a very bad idea, that results in worse customer service.
You don’t have to put up with a customer that’s out of control. You have a right to tell them to stop. If they don’t stop then find a way to make them stop. Maybe you have a great manager who is willing to take the bullet or perhaps you just walk away, but either way you deserve to be treated with respect.
Alex also posted some great responses from of his readers. My favorite was:
We recently had a customer who bounced a check, and had the audacity to call my customer service manager with a tirade of yelling & profanity (before she could explain what had happened). She was calm and waited for him to settle down and tried to explain… He continued to use profanity, only to stop when my CS Manager politely told him that if he didn’t quit, she would hang up… Later, he emailed a complaint to the corporate office stating how rude and unprofessional she had been…
The customer DOES NOT have the right to harass my employees. I just happened to be in the office that day and could hear him screaming at her over the phone. I think she handled it WONDERFULLY; I took her out to lunch!
I don’t believe that a customer has the right to verbally assault my employees and I have trained them not to take that type of abuse from anyone.
When a manager and company cultivate trust with their employees, workers can be happier and more productive. Next time the customer is being a jerk and they ask to speak to a manager, try to convey the message to your boss or manager that the customer is being unreasonable. If the manager fails to listen and gives you the old line, “The customer is Always Right,” then maybe it’s time to find a more forward thinking company that supports its employees.