It’s an age-old verbiage: the customer is always right. But is the customer really always right? Of course not! Running your own business definitely has it’s perks, but when faced with irate or just downright rude customers, owners must maintain their composure and try to placate the customer as best as possible. Unfortunately, business owners are top of the chain; there’s nobody else to defer to such as a supervisor or manager, so this can be a slippery slope for business owners who like to avoid confrontation. However, sometimes confrontation is necessary when dealing with a belittling customer. Remain polite, offer solutions to the problem, and stand your ground.
Pick Your Battles
As with most things in life, it’s wise to pick and choose your battles. As a business owner, your main job is to keep your business successful, busy, and in good standing with the community. If you find yourself or an employee dealing with a customer who is treating you less than fair, weigh your options and decide if you can ignore the behavior or if something must be said about it. Slight attitude because a price changed unexpectedly? Ignore it. Demeaning comments because you won’t give them a discount? Speak up.
In the heat of an argument, especially an unfair argument, it’s easy to get caught up and say things you don’t mean. Be sure to bite your tongue and hold back any insults or personal attacks. Remain polite, calm, and collected while also delivering your point.
Offer Alternative Options
If a customer is upset about something within your control, offer options that may be more appealing to them or that could fix the problem. You want your customers to feel valued and that you appreciate their business. Rectifying a problem may change the customer’s attitude.
Stand Your Ground
If the confrontation is escalating and the belittling customer is not making an effort to change, make sure the customer is aware that you will not tolerate hateful comments or behavior in your store. Do not be afraid to ask difficult customers to leave after you have exhausted all other options.