Everyone who has ever had a job knows how incredibly difficult it can be not to deal with certain customers. Even the friendliest person has that bad day where the next customer who approaches is going to end up in a sleeper hold. It happens to the best of us (I promise) but by identifying the culprits and laying out a game plan for coping with them, you can save your best wrestling moves for the ring.
1. Cell Phone Talker
Let me just say what you're thinking: "GET OFF YOUR PHONE!" These customers must have missed the memo from Miss Manners about talking on their phone in line.
Tactic: The best way to deal with Mr. or Ms. Popularity is to minimize the energy you waste. Smile and deliver only the pertinent information. All efforts at starting a conversation are futile.
2. Captain Impatient
You're in the middle of the lines your company expects you to deliver, and the customer gives you the "move it along" or "wrap it up" sign. You choke down the instinct to strangle him and talk faster, or you just stop talking altogether.
Tactic: Hard to say why this customer has an insatiable need for speed… Who knows? Maybe he was on the way to put out a fire or rescue a kitten - before he stopped for some essentials like batteries, Cocoa Puffs and ShamWows. Just say what you need to say, grit your teeth and smile. (Oh, and, fight the urge to talk even more slowly.)
3. Your New Best Friend
I'm sorry, have we met? No? Then why are you asking me all sorts of personal questions? Oh, you saw that I have a tattoo? No I don't want to see yours, and I don't care about your crazy night in Tijuana.
Tactic: Being nosy is a character flaw, but it's not one you can fix by indulging this customer in her game of 20 questions. Try to laugh off her questions and stick to direct, one-word answers. Hopefully she'll take the hint.
4. Last Comic Standing
Her item won't scan, so "it must be free." You're checking her bills with the counterfeit pen and she quips, "I made it fresh this morning." That's HILARIOUS! I've only heard it six times today.
Tactic: Honest to goodness, she's just trying to be friendly - and it could it be worse. She could be the cell phone talker or Captain Impatient. Just give her the obligatory laugh she's so rightfully earned, and it will make her day.
5. High-Maintenance Man
He orders a triple shot, no whip, extra hot, decaf, skinny, extra foam, vanilla (two pumps, not one) latte.
Tactic: It's not just you. He's difficult everywhere. It's bizarre, but he knows what he wants, and he'll bring it back (and tell your manager) if you don't do it right. The customer is always right, so there's no way around it. Be extra careful with his order and get him out of the line ASAP.
Now that you’ve got the skills to deal with the top 5 annoying customers, dealing with other difficult customers should be a breeze. Keep it up, and you’re well on your way to the customer service hall of fame!