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Discussion Starter #1
This is a plea for advice. I have almost always done book work, mostly by myself and very little contact with the public. I recently started working at a gift shop as a customer service person. I love my boss and don't mind the dusting and organizing I do, I'm even starting to like setting up the displays. I get to be a little creative. But, I struggle with dealing with the customers. Most are very nice and have been very patient while I've learned to work the cash register, cc machine etc...

But, how do you deal with the rude, the impatient, the unclean (and I mean so smelly you just want to gag)? People who don't even look at you and just toss their debit card on the counter because they are on a very important cell phone call? Then there was one man who tried to flirt with me. I guess I should feel flattered at 45 yrs old but please.

Don't even get me started on people's children. I have a whole new respect for those of you that have done customer service for years.

Aside from just keeping a smile on your face how do you deal with the difficult customer?
 

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It's not easy, that's for sure. Unfortunately the only thing you can really do is kill 'em with kindness ;)
 

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To calm someone down if their arms are folded (defense mode) I would fold my arms and stand in the exact position as they were. I would then slowly while talking to them put my hands down by my side and subconciously they will follow within a minute or so without realizing it, I am relaxed thus subconciously they become relaxed. If their voice is raised I keep mine at a steady tone but not raised and then I slowly lower my voice, thus they within a minute or two lower theirs.

I always try to have a smile and be cheerful even though I really am thinking, what kind of upbringing did they have, they must really be having one horrible day, who messed with your breakfast?

Somedays are definately tougher then others though :hugz:
 

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I've been doing customer service for 24 years, and trust me when I say the nice customers will far out weigh the bad ones.

I always try to keep a smile on my face, which will affect the tone of your voice. Be sympathetic w/them and try sentences such as:

"I understand your upset, let's see what we can do to fix this problem." In my experience, that's all they really want....someone that is willing and trying to help.

Or if you don't know how to fix their problem, be honest. Say "I'm so sorry I don't know the answer to that, but I know someone who can help you. Let me get them for you."

Last but not least...don't take their snarky comments personally. They more than likely are having a bad day and are taking it on you.

Best of luck to you!
 

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I definately agree do not take the comments personally. And THAT is the hardest part, I know. I have worked customer service for over 15 years, as yes I have often come home in tears. But for the most part, I love working with people.

The cell phone people, I just sit there until I get their attention. It usually works. I'll make small jokes. Like the card throwers, I'll just kinda go "Opps!" all perky like they didn't mean to do it! I find a smile goes a long way!

You'll get the hang of it. It takes a bit of time is all.
 

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I think you do just have to "deal" with the rude people.
If someone is haveing a problem I think just listening and understanding wherer they are coming from is helpful.
People on cell phones are a HUGE pet peeve of mine so I wouldn't even bother talking to them just ring them up and let them go.
Smelly well that is something you just have to deal with.

But I think the smile and try to be understanding is the best way to go.

eileen
 

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I worked as a nurse for a number of years and had to deal with rude smelly people all the time.
It helps to have a sense of humor as that will diffuse some of them at least for awhile, but not much you can do about the smelly part.
At least they paid me well for it or I'd been looking for something else to do and quickly exiting from the job.
 

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The rude smelly people were often other nurses and medical staff...

I had some really nice patients, more so in home health, many became friends, one a very close friend.
I sure do miss them as many of them got old and died.
I hated having a job where everyone was sick and dying.
 

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There are some great books out there. I will pull some tonight and post the titles for you.

I whole-heartedly agree with the advice to not take it personally. They mean it towards your COMPANY and you just happen to be the face of that company.

My best advice is to be interested in solving their problem, if the customer is an angry one. They are angry for a reason. See if there is anything whatsoever you can offer them. For example: "No your car will not be ready as promised. I understand you work nights, would you like a courtesy car this evening?"

Of course that example is from my business but there is some little perk at every business. Find out what that is and you have found the golden goose.

Good luck! I love working in customer service and I hope you warm up to it.
 

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Kill them with kindness. You would be surprised how often this can turn a bad situtaion or perosn good! I worked CS for YEARS and I have seen it all nothing surprises me. You can make a difference and it is very empowering to know you were the bigger person in the situation. Remember to smile too!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Today went so much better. I'm starting to think it's the few day's before a holiday that customers are more stressed and impatient. Today everyone I dealt with was so much more relaxed and in much better moods than last week.

I did a lot of thinking about this the past few days and decided if I was going to do customer service I just need to really commit to it. Today I smiled more, walked a bit faster to the counter, greeted people as they came in the door. It's not natural for me to be outgoing but I found that even my boss commented about a few customers seeking me out to help them.

I had a man come in today that shops here regularly who has terrible vision problems. He needed a sympathy card so I read several to him and helped him pick one out. It was nice to feel like I had helped someone and my boss commented on my new friend.

Thanks to all of you for your encouragement and tips.
 

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I work customer service in retail and I enjoy it. For the rude customers that can't get off their cell phones, I still talk to them just as if they didn't have a phone glued to their ears. If they need a moment, they usually say that and then step away. For the stinky ones, hold your breath for as long as you can. Fortunately, people aren't usually infront of me for a long period! LOL.

I always remind customers that I am there for them--that's my job. Also, asking what they want--what I can do to help them when they're cranky.

I have a customer that used to make me almost tremble with fear--he's very gruff and impatient. Now--he's ALMOST one of my favorites--I can laugh and joke around with him. He ALWAYS has issues (everyone knows him and dislikes him) and will start conversations out with, "I'm not trying to be miserable...." and now I tell him, "Yeah, right!!! What do you want now?!?!?" I kind of enjoy giving it right back to him and I think he enjoys it, too. He's like a big pussy cat, now.

As far as people trying to flirt with you (NO TOMATOES, PLEASE)....I consider it a perk of the job! I don't mind it at all. Again--people aren't infront of me for very long, so I only have to deal with them for a few minutes at the most.

Good luck with your career in customer service--it is a career that is transferable to almost anything and any where else!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I never realized before what a skill customer service work is. I admire all of you who have made a career out of it.

This whole experience has made me much more aware of what kind of customer I am at other stores. Am I trying to be patient when a new clerk checks me out and is having problems getting the register to work right? Am I remembering to smile and thank them for their assistance? Do I tell them to have a good day when I leave?

I think everyone should have to do customer service for 1 week. It sure would change a lot of attitudes.
 
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