Don’t skewer your angry customers

Earlier today, Old Taskmaster read about a little customer service incident that happened in a Lakemba restaurant.


According to the article, police have charged a Sydney chef who allegedly responded to a customer who complained about the service by stabbing them through the hand with a metal skewer.


Now, Old Taskmaster is not going to comment on this particular case, except to say the urge to attack an angry customer will be familiar to anyone who owns, or has worked in, any customer-facing business.


Now, there will be those who say the customer is always right. Old Taskmaster says nonsense. While most customers are good, some are lazy, stupid, liars, immoral, intolerable, crazy, angry or just outright crooks.


However, no matter how vile, volatile, venomous or vain your vicious visitor is, acts involving metal kitchen utensils are not the answer. Instead you, as an owner, must stay calm.


The customer will want to engage you in a screaming contest. They will try to push your buttons. Don’t give them the satisfaction.


Instead, let them rant. Like the toddler who drank too much juice, they’ll run around and make a lot of noise for a while, as the waterworks flow. But eventually, the temper tantrum will run out of steam and the little tiger or princess will be tuckered out, all ready for bed.


It is at this point that you should apply the LEAP method: Listen, empathise, acknowledge and propose a solution.


Of course, if a customer seriously crosses the line, you should calmly and politely ask them to leave. And obviously if they begin to seriously threaten violence, refuse to leave when you ask or damage your property, that’s a criminal matter and you should respond accordingly. But most of the time, it won’t get to that.


So do you have an angry customer? Put down the skewers and get LEAPing. Tell your staff to do likewise.


Get it done – today!


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