Provide good customer service in retail, even when the customer is wrong

The phrase customer is always right is not new to you. 

This is a popular customer service mantra that most businesses live by. But what happens when the customer is wrong?

If you own or manage a store, then you’ve probably had to deal with instances of shoplifting, at least once. Many business owners make their stance on shoplifting clear by displaying signs like the ones below, right inside their stores:

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The message is clear: if you shoplift, prepare to deal with the legal consequences of your actions. Sounds fair, but… it’s not always so cut and dry. Even in the stickiest of situations, there may be a better way.

If you treat your customers like real people and just listen to them, and react in a compassionate way, you might find a better solution that benefits all parties (and even make a positive impact on someone’s life), like the clever store manager did in the post below:A parent found that her son had shoplifted a lollipop from the store on the island.

She promptly brought her child back to the store where she had the boy apologize to the store clerk. When the store manager was notified, instead of following the rule book and calling the police, he told the little boy that he could have the lollipop if he was willing to work for it.

They struck a deal: the boy had to pick up 10 items of trash in the parking lot and he would have earned the lollipop. He went outside and picked up the trash, even a little more than 10 pieces. Afterwards, the punishment actually made him feel better, because he was then able to tell others that he had earned the candy, instead of stealing it.

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