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Customers That Make Long Days Longer in Retail

Ten Types of the Worst Customers in the Retail Environment

People can be jerks some of the time. We just don’t see how our actions can affect the others around us. This can be especially true for the retail environment while working as a customer service representative serving people who are difficult. These are ten examples of people that I worked around when I was in retail.

The Shoplifter

What is a Shoplifter?

Some people can be dangerous on top of being jerks, so when people are doing something terrible to the point it’s criminal knowing what to do is best. From what I remember there are many types of thieves, from seasoned groups to novice individuals who try to get something for nothing.

How did I resolve this?

I always found it best to use my best judgement and not assume the worst when the situation could look like anything because it makes people feel more nervous about shopping and gives a negative experience that gets around. But if the worst comes to happen, calling management, security and not causing a scene making the person leave with the merchandise or injuring someone. I leave it upto the training that I have with shoplifting.

The One that buys items only to return them the NEXT day

What is return policy abuse?

When people buy something only to return it, that’s taking advantage of the return policy from the store and the salespeople. The abuse of the return policy starts when one person continuously buys something only to return it. When it happens from the same person on a frequent bases it can be obvious of what they like to do with merchandise. Either it’s two weeks later you see them come back or two days later you see them.

How did I resolve this?

In my ways, they are following the store policy. I would just explain what the store policy of exchanging and returning items clearly at the initial purchase. This is especially true for final sales items that are worn or way past the return policy and they want a refund or exchange it for something newer. At that point, if it was a final sale when they initially bought the item, it’s theirs.

The One who picks fights

What is a violent customer?

These people are truly jerks but they are dangerous. Verbal confrontation from a stranger can escalate quickly into a physical fight.

How did I resolve this?

As a person, verbal abuse shouldn’t be tolerated because of escalation in an argument. If it ever gotten violent I would have called for help, like security. Calling for security in these situations should be encouraged to keep everyone in the area safe.

The One who asks for a discount on top of discounted items

What is a person looking for a deal?

There are people out there that look for discounted items and that’s fine. But when people ask for a discount on items and constantly persist, that’s a problem. Some people just like trying to haggle.

How did I resolve this?

It’s best to stick by your statements and not fold when someone is asking you to do things for them that not only isn’t necessary to do but will get you in trouble. If you know for a fact you can’t change the price or give a discount to the customer its best not to promise anything and state that is really is the price.

The One that makes the big messes you end up cleaning up

What a mess?

Messy days happen and human hurricanes also do exist. Constantly cleaning up messes on busy days are a pain but a good thing. It means you had a customer browse through the clothing. Some clothes thrown about is normal in retail but a whole table looking like a mountain of clothes three to four feet high can be discouraging to organize back. Some people when they shop don’t care how the area looks afterwards when they are browsing through. That’s up to the staff working there to reorganize the area. Some people can be slobs and will never care about what is left behind after they when through everything but no one can buy anything in a mess. It’s just not possible. We are not wired that way as human beings.

How did I resolve this?

It’s not difficult to understand that some days you’re going to be cleaning up messes you don’t want to versus spotless days. If I found it that it’s messy on the big tables I don’t compulsively clean the one spot neglecting the rest of the areas. I would circle around cleaning up places but straightening up the tables occasionally. If I did this continuously I wouldn’t be stressing out on making the floors spotless but making the environment clean and ergonomic for customers and other sale staff to look for what they are looking for. If you are in a middle of cleaning up a big mess, take your time it’s going to be awhile.

The One that doesn’t listen but talks over you

What if they are really not listening?

It’s like they came there with an agenda. When people don’t listen, it can be very infuriating to explain something that they asked for but are not willing to listen to an answer.

How I resolved this?

There are two options that I did.

Option One: I would repeat myself slightly louder. Sometimes some people didn’t hear you and didn’t bother to try. I would be trying again later time within the conversation gracefully never hurt anyone.

Option two: Sometimes some people aren’t worth it. Walk away before getting frustrated with them. The reason why I would say vanity because everyone has a need to be heard. This leads to louder voices and anger when no one is listening. The customer should be informed but there is a good chance that you caught the customer at the wrong time.

The One who is rude

What if they are just jerks?

Some people are just jerks. These types of customers enjoy belittling and treating service staff like crap for a small degree of power. It’s pathetic. They would make scenes in public like you’re the jerk when you just work there and did the requirements for your job. These customers act like “without me, you won’t have a paycheck” when they don’t pay you anything at the end the day (even if there is a commission.)

How do I resolve this?

First, they are not your employer. They won’t want anyone to act like that at their own job so the fact that they are at your job treating you like that it’s entitlement. Walking away from these arrogant customers. They are fine on their own. It’s better than dealing with some emotions. Bad customers are apart of the job but if their attitude is something that would make you perform badly; getting someone else to help them with that problem is a good idea, for most days.

This is usually the worst part of retail jobs and customer service. Some people get underneath our skin but remaining nice and courteous goes a long way for everyone at the end.

The One that holds up the line when paying

What if they are just plain slow at paying?

Some people are slow, but this slow is based on having to wait for more than ten minutes for payment.

How do I resolve this?

When people are slow at some tasks being patience with people is necessary. Payment for a product is expected when someone is purchasing something. Skipping the person politely to help the other people in line helps with efficiency. Every person you meet is not at the same pace when accomplishing tasks, no matter how minor.

The One who complains about things that has an employee you can’t change

What if they complain about…

The Store Overall: My response “I am sorry you feel that way.” You can’t please everyone but at this point listening to their concerns are usually best.

The Other People: My response “I am sorry you feel that way.” Some people don’t get along with some other people but keeping civility and not joining in on their comments shows manners and respect. I always listened to other people concerns then acted appropriately.

The Price: My response “I am sorry you feel that way.” But the prices are set. I usually don’t mention an additional discount when there isn’t one.

These complaint can be handed in two perspectives. They lead to places that go nowhere because they are there to waste time or can get you in trouble with either the managing staff or offend the customer. Some people are just looking for a fight and that should be avoided. Or some people have a difference of opinion and not making people angry with their opinion at your presents is always wise.

The One who breaks/damages items

What if something breaks and no one makes a sound?

Things break all time and they are actually bad hazards depending on what they are. Messes make small problems into bigger problems. Nobody likes to slip or fall because someone broke something.

How do I resolve this?

Clean the mess before someone hurts themselves. Thoroughly and safely.

I always try to improve the shopping experience with the skills I have. With the years that I have in the retail customer service business, I have met some people who were difficult but I also met a lot more friendly and appreciative people who respected me, my job and the other people who I use to work around.

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