Retail - Difficult Customers!

(9 Posts)
holdinghands Wed 20-Apr-16 20:05:59

Hi, I was looking for a bit of advice for handling a couple of difficult customers! Sorry in advance if I ramble!

We have 2 shops of the same company in our town and i used to work in one and have now moved to the other one. While I was in the other shop a woman came in asking for a refund but didn't have a receipt, so as per our policy I refused the refund. She complained loudly and made such a fuss I ended up ringing the area manager and was told to do the refund. I did that and the woman then complained about my first refusal and asked for head office contact details and proceed to make a complaint about me. That I can handle.
Now I have moved to the other shop and she comes in regularly but is quite rude towards me and always tries to make things difficult. If something comes as a set she'll only want one instead of the whole lot or complains about the prices/quality etc. A couple of weeks ago she bought something and asked for a bag, when I told her it was 20p she said "who do you think you are talking to" (God's honest truth!) I just stay polite and even carried something to her car the other day.
I found out today she had been in our other shop and was complaining about me to the manager. She said I was incredibly rude and told the manager "I won't make a complaint about her but if you want to on my behalf, I'll back you up". Oh and to give you an idea of what sort of woman she is; we have a vulnerable adult who volunteers in our shop. A couple of weeks ago this woman came in and saw the VA and told us she used to work as a carer in her building, she told us she would "do your head in with her talking" and that "she's not as stupid as she pretends to be and will get you in trouble if she's gets the chance".
Secondly (!)
Another customer is a lovely lady (so I thought) I have known her as a customer for years and she doesn't come in regularly but I always chat to her when she does. She was in a couple of days ago and I was asking her how she'd been and she said her husband had died. I told her how sorry I was and chatted to her for a bit, she came into the back working area and starting looking around and I told her nothing in there was for sale yet as it was our working area and she said that's OK and walked back onto the shop floor. She then asked about a necklace (silver with a large blue stone pendant) when I told her the price she acted like it was expensive and I told her it was silver and the pendant alone was worth that price. She said OK and off she went. But again today I found out she had been in the other shop and was seen talking to the first lady. She then went to the manager and told her about the necklace in my shop and how expensive it was and told her I was very rude to her!
I'm actually really upset about this. The first woman is just nasty so I can handle that but the second woman has always been lovely and I've never been anything but polite and friendly towards her. I'm wondering if the first lady said something to her to make her lie about me. And can they complain about me when I've done nothing wrong?

I know having difficult customers is part and parcel of retail but this has got me down. Does anyone have any words of advice to cheer me up?!

wasonthelist Wed 20-Apr-16 20:54:21

can they complain about me when I've done nothing wrong?

Well, sadly of course they can - but with any luck a decent manager will realise.

I don't know if this will help, but many years ago I had a ranting customer when I was a filling station cashier - he said he would write to head office, so I asked him to wait a minute, went to the office and gave him one of the reply paid envelopes we used to send the accounts to HQ in and invited him to put his letter of complaint in and send it off. I never heard back.

ineedamoreadultieradult Wed 20-Apr-16 21:02:44

If your managers have anything about them they will be able to tell a genuine complaint from a complaint be an unreasonable serial complainer. I work in a call centre so slightly different but I have customers swear at me, threaten to rape me, kill my family quite often. If you know you have done nothing wrong just ignore them.

228agreenend Wed 20-Apr-16 21:08:55

A good manager will know that you are usually professional and polite.

However, why don't you have a word with your manager, and give your side of the story. Explain the situation and how the customers were towards you.

holdinghands Wed 20-Apr-16 21:11:56

Wasonthelist, sorry, of course I know they can complain, I suppose I was saying WHY would someone do that!

Thanks for the replies both of you. No offence, but it's nice to know others are going through it too!

holdinghands Wed 20-Apr-16 21:15:30

228, I did think of that but was worried I'd look like a paranoid nutter! But actually, I'm the Manager of my shop and the Area Manager has just left so there's no one to talk to at the moment. Regional Manager is pushing it a bit! Do you think I should ask the 2nd lady what I did that was rude?

queenofthepirates Wed 20-Apr-16 21:34:05

I wouldn't advise tackling the 2nd customer directly-it's a little unprofessional-your job is to provide a service-it's not personal.

Be completely professional but don't let your customers overstep the boundaries.

Longdistance Wed 20-Apr-16 21:43:55

Well, I've worked in customer services for over 24 years.

When I get arse holes customers like this, I tend to think in my head 'oh fuck off', and nod and agree with them. That really pisses them off when you agree with them.

Also, just be polite and kill them with kindness. If there's something you can't do ie like a refund with no receipt, always ask a manager/senior, that way you'll have back up without them getting personal with you.

Don't get offended either, grow a second skin and think of flicking v's at them grin

holdinghands Wed 20-Apr-16 22:18:24

Haha thanks Longdistance, that made me smile!

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