Friday, March 28, 2008

10 Fool-Proof Ways to Piss Off Your Customers

Lately, it feels like I've been plagued with the worst customer service (EVER!!) lately. And believe me, I'm not on a high horse here. Waiting tables, bartending, and pushing designer jeans--I once did it all as a starving student so I've had my share of nightmare customers. You know...the ones who seem to thrive on making your life a living hell during that brief time you spend together:

Scenario #1: Hell's Kitchen

MEANIE: It isn't like it's rocket science! I asked for a blue rare steak--

ME: Uh...sir, that is a blue rare steak...


ME: Well, the steak was just briefly seared on both sides so the the centre is supposed to be cool...

MEANIE: I want a new steak NOW!!!

ME: Sure, no problem. I'll have a new striploin for you in a few minutes.


Scenario #2: Rodeo "Dive"

TEEN MEANIE: Hi, I wanna like..return this bikini.

ME: OK, was it defective?

TEEN MEANIE: just changed my mind.

ME: I'm really sorry but swim suits are a final sale unless the garment is defective. We even stamped your receipt when you bought it.


ME: Um...bikinis are like undergarments so our policy is because of sanitary reasons.

TEEN MEANIE: But I didn't it! I just wanna get my money back!

ME: Well, your receipt says that you bought the bikini over 3 months ago...and looks like you did wear it. I'm sorry but it is still a final sale.

TEEN MEANIE: I wanna talk to your manager!

ME: I am the manager my dear...

I'm sure you get the idea, right?

What I did learn from working in both the retail and restaurant industries is that it's one big play and you're the star of the show. You swallow your pride because a) you're getting paid to do it and b) good tips are usually a huge incentive. Difficult customers may require you to use every ounce of willpower in your body to suck-it-up but most of the time, customers are usually pretty easy going so a good sense of humour and kindness go a long way. They are paying for the experience after all...

And now that I am on the other side of the equation, it feels like I've just been getting shafted. Rude and incompetent seem to be the first words that come to mind when describing my most recent customer service experiences. Seriously, I'm a damn good tipper and really laid-back so what gives?! If I'm dropping $100 for a nice dinner or for a pair of jeans I demand good service dammit! So instead of actually confronting these servers and retail workers who clearly detest their jobs, I've decided to exorcise my angst with the following list:

10 Fool-Proof Ways to Piss-off Your Customers

1. Don't smile and make sure to speak to your customers in a really RUDE tone.

2. Act like your customers just asked you to cut-off one of your limbs when all they really wanted was another Coke.

3. Make sure to trash-talk your "bitchiest" customers out loud in a fitting room filled with other customers.

4. When your customers have waited over half-an-hour for their food, make sure to completely abandon their table and don't refill any of their drinks.

5. Don't apologize when the food finally arrives cold and a customer is missing his meal because you forgot to punch in his order.

6. Rudely stare your customers down when they walk into your clothing store.

7. When a customer calmly confronts you about over-charging her $10 for a pair of jeans, make sure to a) rudely argue about it and, b) not to apologize when a calculator proves you wrong.

8. Make your customers wait at their table for nearly 15 minutes before you greet them or take their drink order.

9. Absolutely chat about your sex life with another employee within earshot of a customer.

10. Make sure your customers know how much you hate your job. This may entail: rolling your eyes when asked a question, telling them that you're sooo hungover when they ask how you are doing, and looking like you would rather be cleaning subway toilets than serving their table right now...


ZenDenizen said...

My first job was in the customer service industry (preparing tax returns) so I rarely dealt with anyone who was happy to see me. I'm thankful because it made every office job after that seem that much easier by comparison!

I'm saddened to people are just as rude in Canada as they are here.

Rob Scott said...

My partner worked at Roots for a year and after that experience has high service standards, which never seem to be fulfilled and this often leads to frustration.

Almost every person in the service industry in Toronto (especially retail) really does not seem to care about their job. On the other hand I was in LA in December and everyone there really makes an effort. It makes a big difference.

Randomness said...

Hells Kitchen?? Are you in Vancouver? There's one of those here, altho not like the one on Food Channel haha..

Divinyl said...

I hate it, however, when sales assistants are TOO keen...I feel hassled and often leave the shop much sooner than I would have if left to my own devices! I am quite capable of asking for help if I need it thank you!

I've experienced a lot more of that in the States (haven't been to couldn't comment), where I guess they must be on commission. At the Mac counter in Macy's in San Francisco, there were about 4 of them seemingly vying to lick me! And it was the same in the airport duty free shop. I hate feeling hassled like that...just as bad as when sales assistants are rude! x


Hey Rob and Zen...

Yes, the rude customer service has definitely been a bummer! The cases I mentioned happened in Alberta and there is a huge labour shortage in regards to entry level positions. Long story short, the oil boom in the province has provided tons of high paying jobs so those within the lower ranks can pretty much shop from job to job without actually feeling a sense of urgency when finding employment. Hence, the crappy service. So this is definitely an Alberta phenomenon, not necessarily a nation-wide thing (I'm hoping) ;P


Hey Randomness...Thanks for joining the discussion. No, I wasn't referring to the restaurant in Van, it was just a play on words like "Rodeo Dive". Because at the time, when I was working there, it did feel like a "hell's" kitchen, know what I mean?


Hello divinyl...

Oh yeah, I so agree with you. Super-pushy sales associates can also be a thorn in your side, especially when they start hovering around/pouncing on you to buy stuff. In the end, I guess I'm just impossible to please :p

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