Challenging Customers

Suppose you think that dealing with the public is easy to try working in a public sector job for a while. Yesterday I had a customer come in who demanded that I let him into his unit, and I refused. Before you all get bent out of shape as to why I wouldn’t let him in, let me explain. The man is constantly late on his payments. He knows that the bill is always due on the 1st of a month. He knows he’s given a grace period from the 1st through the 5th without an overlock going on his unit. Yet he still insisted I let him into his storage when he was past ten days past due. I can get fired for letting him into a unit before payment is complete.

He got upset because I refused to let him into his unit before paying his bill. He wouldn’t give me a valid reason for what was so urgent, and we had made it crystal clear that if he didn’t pay his bill, he wouldn’t get in the unit until we received full payment. He then threw it in my face that he had a business, and he let people go for at least 30 days without keeping them from using the service. Most storage facilities have a certain amount of days that they have the right to overlock you and keep you out of your unit if you don’t pay by. If you do not pay in that time, they are forbidden to let you in until payment is received. I am not willing to lose my job because of his poor planning.

I have a favorite saying that says, “Poor planning on your part does not equate to an emergency on mine.” I know times are tight and that expenses are going up. I feel the pinch too. My employer is not increasing our pay even though our income is dramatically less than what starting salaries at Walmart are going for today. And while I empathize with his situation, it’s become a common scenario. If people don’t get their way, they’re throwing fits. Sometimes it’s tempting to invest in a pacifier for some people and hand them out when their tempers get the best of them, but that probably isn’t wise. It might be amusing to witness, though.

Another customer of mine decided to steal her vehicle off the property. The facility that I’m currently working at has a couple of issues. There is no way for me to keep customers locked out of the gate during the day when I’m here unless I sit there and operate the gate the entire day. Our entrance sits up on a hill where even visitors would not enter unless they had a code. Those codes are only issued when a person gets a unit. So for customers to be able to become a customer, they need to have a way to access the office. The woman who had her vehicle in parking knew this. She made a point of taking her car back after the office was open because she couldn’t access the gate due to delinquency. She was delinquent by forty days. In essence, she stole her car off the property. I was lucky that I got payment from a family member of hers. I called the family member today and returned their phone call from Saturday. She was so upset over what her niece did that she tried to make it right. Stealing is stealing. People can justify it any way they want, but when a person steals from a company or anyone for that matter, it’s still theft. I hope that this young woman gets the help she needs to get her life back in order.

There is a massive difference in the customer always being right versus treating people with respect and kindness. I’ve found that when you remain calm and treat people the way you want, people tend to do one of two things. They either calm down, or they get mad. Either way, if you stay as calm as possible, it gets more difficult for people to see they ruffled your feathers, and eventually, you can shake off any negative energy they throw your way. If you don’t have to work with customer service and don’t like people, stay out of that world. Many people need to find different jobs because they are in it and don’t do well with those positions. If you tried it and hated working in it, find different roles. I’d rather see people happy with what they do than make everyone else’s life miserable.

Always remember that people are always going through different cycles in their lives. You might be on the reciprocating end of their destructive processes, but you don’t have to follow their lead. Keep your head high, hold your ground, and never let anyone make you feel like you aren’t worthy of respect. The hardest part of working with the public is learning when to walk on eggshells and create a warm and welcoming environment. This task can be challenging when the ones who are being nasty and rude push your buttons. Have a great day, everyone.

2 thoughts on “Challenging Customers

  1. Look here, there rule is the rule is the rule!! You did the right thing. Had you let him in and lost your job, he wouldn’t give a damn – he would have gotten his way and ungratefully said she knew she was not supposed to do that! I absolutely hate customer service jobs and have gotten all the way out of retail and any job where I have to do face to face, email and worst yet telephone customer service. People are just down right too rude and discourteous and always on the hustle to get somebody fired when they were the one coming to you wrong in the first place. People don’t realize that people in the customer service industry are humans and have feelings too. Hell no, the customer is NOT always right! The fool who made that mess up…..SMH

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