Angry CustomerNot for a second am I suggesting that it is the fault of the customer that customer service can be poor. But bear with us while we take you through a slightly different scenario, there are always two sides to a tale, and this example might just provide a valuable “teachable moment”.

Virtually everyone on this earth who has had access to retail stores, fast-food outlets, restaurants, and other service-based entities, has experienced a scene being made by a poor customer, who is generally trapped in the throes of their ego. Not to be judgmental – you know the type. If you don’t, here are a few general examples:

  • They barge to the front of the line as if they are the only person in the world and have no idea how civilized society behaves as far as lines are concerned.
  • They rant and scream about anything and everything, virtually foaming at the mouth, just for the sake of complaining.
  • The way they behave with regards to virtually everything is handled in a way that suggests they have been framed for a particularly nasty murder.
  • The louder they shout and complain, we get the impression, the more important they feel, which only makes us feel more embarrassed to be part of the same species.
  • The problem they are complaining about is generally miniscule in comparison to the extent of the complaint.
  • No solution to the problem is acceptable, unless it entails getting the entire compliment of staff fired.
  • They return to complain at the same place, about the same thing time after time – almost as though this is how they get their “fix”.

While this type of behavior is fine if you live on your own planet, these customers do not – they share a planet with the rest of us, and this behavior is completely illogical.  Consider the possibilities, that poor customer service is only experienced by a poor customer.

It is not the job of a customer service agent or employee offering a service to deal with psychopaths. This is a job for health professionals. So, no matter how hard “the customer is always right” argument is thrust down the throats of employees in training, not every customer has the right to scream obscenities or throw temper tantrums in public.

Customer status is not so hallowed that nasty, unhappy people need be placated, and there is such a thing as a quality “NO”. Treating people like dirt defies unwritten laws of respect and basic decency.  Perceived past encounters with below-par service does not make it acceptable to flip the lid whenever they feel like it. In situations such as this, the customer is actually wrong, and employees in service related jobs, also need to understand this.

We all experience a little poor service, or small mistakes in handling sometimes. But allowing a customer to behave like a raving tyrant because of this is absolutely unacceptable. It is a petty, narcissistic, controlling abuse of power that is corrupt. If we as customers do not get what we want, customer service agents also need to be trained that this is a fact of life. It is also our responsibility to handle the complaint in a decent and mature way; not like egotistical obnoxious oppressors.