The Customer isn’t Always Right

I’m approaching burnout rapidly.  This working every day thing is more difficult than I thought it would be.  The two worst things about working customer service jobs are the phones, and bitchy customers.   If one more person yells at me, (for them misunderstanding what I told them,) I’m not sure whats going to happen.   However,  I think I’ve gotten pretty talented at handling obnoxious, customers/clientele.  I’m even so talented, I don’t even have to tell them I’m wrong, or apologize for something I didn’t do just to get them to shut up, go away, and be happy.

For example:  Some old rich lady with an fugly hat approached me today yelling, “How come you told me there were no more bagels, when I see that you just put a whole bunch of more bagels out there and you just told me there weren’t any more!”

This lady almost shook my confidence.  I had told her or anyone no such thing.  However, I was definitely hiding the rest of the bagels so the members of the tennis club wouldn’t bother me by digging around in the bags in the back, telling their friends that we had this or that in the pro-shop kitchen.  And it most certainly appeared as if we had no more bagels, because I was trying to preserve the bagels so they would last until noon.  So when about four women approached me (prior to the aforementioned confrontation) asking if there were any more pumpernickel bagels, I explained that there werent anymore and that I had put them all out first thing this morning.  Now, I presume this woman didn’t listen to a word I had told her earlier, thus storming in here, immediately putting me on the defense.

Any inexperienced/un-confident brown noser-I mean, customer service representative would have assumed they either lied to the customer, or mistakenly told the customer the wrong thing;  and by following the “customer is always right” ideology, would have apologized for making up a ridiculous notion that caused all the ruckus in the first place.  Then the brown noser would feel like a shameless idiot, for being  horrible at his/her job and retreat into the depths of his or her mind wondering how he/she could have been so stupid.

However, the customer is usually wrong, and didn’t really listen to a word you told them.  So, I told the lady with the fugly hat about the situation where they asked me about the pumpernickel bagels, and nothing about the condition of any other bagels.  I told her “I wouldn’t have told anyone that there weren’t any bagels left.”  I acted as surprised as she was at that supposed “concealing, giant fib” she thought I told.  Her response was “Well we should order more pumpernickel bagels then….”  I told her I already wrote and urgent note for the boss to get some more.  She seemed satisfied.

“Bagels” is such a funny word, eh?

So, when dealing with obnoxious customers who don’t know what their talking about don’t back down from your confidence.  If you know you’re right, then you’re right (unless you’re wrong).    Stand your ground, but don’t argue. Clarify, Clarify, Clarify!!! Empathize with that person, show the same emotion they are presenting to you, but don’t agree with them.    And most importantly, give the customer a solution.  Let them know its already been taken care of.  All this person is looking for is a solution; more than likely, that solution will get them to back down, and you can walk away with your dignity intact.


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