The Final One Word On The Matter

| Right | July 5, 2016

(My boss is wonderful. As a result of far too many stories like the ones on this site, he directs his staff to use one word responses when a customer gets unreasonable, and to hit the ‘panic’ button — a monitor that pipes the conversation through to him. Conversations like this still happen, but at least it’s all handled.)

Customer: “This is ridiculous! I had to wait in line for 15 minutes! Why couldn’t you serve me earlier?”

Me: *hit the button* “Sorry, sir. There were other people in front of you. How can I help you?”

Customer: “Give me a [Product], and I want a 20% discount!”

Me: “Sorry, sir, I can’t do that, and there is no reason to; this is normal business. Waiting in line is an everyday matter.”

Customer: “Yes, you can. Give it to me or I’ll have your job!”

Me: *going into DefCon mode* “Can’t.”

(This is where my boss’s one-word strategy works so well. Irate customers can easily ignore a sentence, but it’s hard to mis-hear a single word.)

Customer: “Can’t? Of course you can! What do you mean, can’t?”

Me: “Can’t.”

Customer: “Why not?”

Me: “Orders.”

Customer: “Whose orders?”

Me: “Boss.”

Customer: “Well, get me your boss then!”

Me: “Okay.”

(My boss comes out.)

Customer: “This employee was being extremely rude to me! I demand my purchase for free, or at least with a big discount!”

Boss: “No.”

Customer: “No? What do you mean, no? She was being rude!”

Boss: “Not rude.” *okay, sometimes you have to use two words*

Customer: “Yes, she was!”

Boss: *points to monitor* “Monitor.”

Customer: “What?”

Boss: “Heard you.”

Customer: “So?”

Boss: “Not rude. No discount.”

Customer: “The customer is always right! Why not?”

(Once we get to this point, my boss has a standard spiel.)

Boss: “Five good reasons.”

Customer: “Huh?”

Boss: “Five good reasons why you’re not getting a discount.”

Customer: “What? What are they?”

Boss: “One: I don’t have to. Two: I don’t want to. Three: There’s no reason I should. Four: You can’t make me. Five: I’m not going to.”

Customer: “I’m never coming here again!”

Boss: “You should have said that before. If you’d have said that if I gave you a discount, you would promise to never come back, I might have given it to you.”

(The customer left. Case closed.)

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