The Best Way To Handle Problem Customers Is To Just Hum Along

, , , | Right | December 18, 2018

(In our store we have a policy that you can’t return a certain item. This is regulated by law, but most customers do not believe this, for some reason. I have had some very uncomfortable encounters with customers over this, but this one takes the crown.)

Customer: “I would like to return these.” *she puts up the item that I am not allowed to take as a return, and a couple of other items that I can take*

Me: *friendly and apologetic* “These I cannot take; I am not allowed. I do apologize. But you can return these.”

Customer: “Ah, yes, I have heard that you guys are very difficult and that this store has bad customer service, but I decided to give you a chance. But now I know; I am never coming back here!”

Me: “I’m sorry to hear that. The policy is, however, regulated by law, and I cannot accept a return on these. There is nothing I can do about it.”

(The customer goes on a rant on how stupid this is, how she is never coming back, and how bad the customer service is. I am quite used to these rants, because of the law, so I shut down and am now just nodding and smiling. The customer races around the store to find something to exchange her returnable items for, because she does not want store credit. Meanwhile, I’m doing some tidying, and putting items back on the shelves, while humming a tune to myself. The store is very small and the customer hears my humming.)

Customer: *wild-eyed* “How can you HUM when I am upset?!”

Me: *shocked* “I’m sorry, what?”

Customer: “Even YOU should understand that you can’t hum when a customer is in the store and upset! YOU UNDERSTAND THAT, DON’T YOU?!”

Me: “I’m so sorry; I always hum. I really did not mean to offend you in any way!”

Customer: “I’m going to write a complaint to the store, telling your boss that you treated me VERY badly! This is not the last you are hearing of this! It is so incredibly rude TO HUM WHILE A CUSTOMER IS UPSET!”

Me: “Please calm down. There is nothing I can do. I am not allowed to return the item, by law. I did not mean to offend you by humming. I always hum.”

Customer: “Give me store credit; I can’t find anything here to buy.” *she studies the note with the store credit to get my name* “Oh, so it’s [My Name]? You will hear about this!”

Me: *a little frustrated that she is going to complain about me personally to my boss over something that I could not do anything about by law* “I’m so sorry. I don’t understand why you are so upset by me humming.”

Customer: *as she storms out* “NO, YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND!”

(Well… I have not heard anything about any complaint, nor have I stopped humming.)

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