Customer service and retail workers are the unspoken superheroes of our society because dealing with unhappy customers can be a straight up nightmare.
I’ve worked as a server in an Italian restaurant and I’ve been a communications intern on a political campaign, where I made thousands of calls to constituents weekly. Needless to say, I’m quite experienced in negotiating a hostile conversation. In both jobs, I’ve found myself in tears because I was unable to make an upset customer happy. Yes, I am a people pleaser–but also, people can be really mean over a political phone call or even pasta al dente.
At the end of the day, it’s important for customers to realize that employees are people, and vice versa. If you simply act with respect, compassion, and decency, you’re way more likely to both resolve your issue, and just have a better day.
I’m not surprised that the first step to satisfying an unhappy customer is to listen. You have to truly know what’s going on to be able to fix it. Validating the customer comes next, and I know the importance of validation from experience. Customers are so grateful when they hear that their concerns are valid and that they deserve to have them made right.
Dealing with other people can be hard, but it can also be beautiful. Oftentimes, a heated argument with a dissatisfied customer can transition into you making someone’s day by making it right. Every human interaction is an opportunity to make the world a better place, even when you’re on the clock.