Difficult customers are nothing new, especially in retail business, but if you don’t deal with them correctly, they could post some real security risks. A situation can easily escalate from yelling to violence quickly.

Obviously, you never want this to happen, so it’s important to learn how to properly deal with difficult customers. However, it’s always good to have security measures in place should something go wrong.

Proper Etiquette For Managing Difficult Customers

There are several things to keep in mind, no matter how difficult a customer becomes. Even if you have security on hand to help with an out of control situation, you should still try to manage the situation to prevent it from becoming a problem.

When a customer begins yelling, screaming or otherwise causing a scene, remember the following:

  • Always keep an even, pleasant tone
  • Think of ways to immediately fix the problem
  • Calming listen to the customer’s complaint
  • Ask questions to uncover ways to help the customer
  • Offer to get someone who can better solve the issue (if you’re unable to do so)

No matter what you do, don’t ignore the customer or start yelling back. This only causes the customer to get more upset. This could easily result in security risks and even danger to other customers in the immediate area.

The idea is to use the correct mindset. The last thing you want to do is add fuel to an already raging fire. Trying to get even with the way you’re being treated isn’t going to help. Think about how you would want to be treated and use that approach.

Security Risks That May Arise

If you’ve never had a situation go from bad to worse to even worse, you may not believe that difficult customers could pose security risks. Consider this interview with an airline manager. Despite the best efforts of well-trained staff, the occasional passenger still has to be escorted off a plane or out of an airport in handcuffs.

Poorly managing these difficult customers could result in security issues such as:

  • Immediate violence, such as trying to hit a representative
  • Physical damage to the premises, such as breaking glass or furniture
  • Breaking into the premises later on for revenge
  • Safety concerns with employees leaving after their shift
  • Physical damage to an employee’s vehicle or belongings from an irate customer
  • Trying to turn away other customers at the door by loudly complaining about their own service

Once an issue escalates to this point, it’s not good. It scares away customers and may hurt your business’s reputation. Even though it was the customer that got out of hand, it still looks bad on the business.

In most cases, proper management of the situation initially can prevent most of these security risks. While it’s not 100% effective all the time, the idea is to train employees well enough that it’s rare for an interaction to pose a security problem.

Protecting Your Business And Employees

Having visible security guards on the premises is sometimes enough to prevent difficult customers from acting on their impulses. This gives the customer time to calm down and consider the solutions from the business.

Should a situation spiral out of control, a guard is available to restrain the customer until police arrive. This protects employees and other customers. It’s obviously a last resort, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Even if an employee isn’t handling the situation like they should, a properly trained guard knows ways to help put water on the fire. They can take over until another employee or manager can properly handle the customer’s complaints.

You may not think about needing guards, but it’s a precaution you’re grateful to have when you need it. For the most part, just consider them part of your friendly staff.

Contact BOS Security

If you have any questions about security in your business, don’t hesitate to contact BOS Security at 404-793-6965. You can also take advantage of our free Security Assessment to better determine your security needs.

Image: Didriks