“If I was you, I would have kicked her out.”

“I would have smacked her.”

“And her husband… what a @*&#%. ‘Now you’re sure this is compatible?’ he asked me for the umpteenth time. I couldn’t take it.”

Several employees of my local cellphone store were blowing off steam about a “difficult” customer. But they weren’t doing it afterhours at a local bar. They were standing right in front of me while one of them was ringing up my purchase. And there were about 10 other customers within earshot.

As Michael Masterson says: “The customer should be treated as if he is right, even when he is wrong.” And that applies even when you’re not dealing directly with a customer service problem.

If you run a business where your employees interact with customers, clients, business partners, vendors, etc. (pretty much any business), you must have a zero-tolerance policy for “trash talking.” Employees should put on a public face when anyone outside the company is around. No gossiping, no insulting comments about former associates… nothing negative.

[Ed. Note: Dealing with difficult customers is an unavoidable part of being in business. So what? You can do it! Don’t let that prevent you from building a powerhouse Internet business. Get a step-by-step guide to starting and growing your business right here.]

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