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If you work in the retail sector or many other sectors, you may work face to face with customers. Often you may have a hard time, right from the first contact with a customer.

Where there is a problem, customers often use attack first, rather than to discuss in a constructive manner. They often start with an aggressive or angry voice which the member of staff has to first try and calm them down. This can apply in any sector where your customer comes into your business.

Some ideas to prevent this are to stay visible and available to visitors, but don’t crowd the customer or hover around them. If you make yourself available, they often approach you and ask you, rather than them hunting for someone for a length of time, which will make them angrier before they even get to talk to someone.

Your body language is just as important as your voice. Do not act threatening or uninterested. You need to come across as understanding and professional. For example, having your arms crossed is a defensive gesture, uncross your arms, but do not put them in your pockets as this is not professional.

Ask them to sit down if you are seated or stand up so you are talking at the same level. When standing, keep your posture upright and avoid leaning or slouching.

Keep good eye contact with the person, as this shows you are concentrating on them. You don't have to stare at them the whole time, but equally, you don't want to always be looking at papers or elsewhere. Do not stand too close as people do not like you invading their personal space, but equally, do not stand too far away that you cannot give them your whole attention.

As with all communication, the tone of your voice and the way you speak will have an impact on the outcome. Stay calm and do not raise your voice or sound in-interested.

If you are in retail, you can improve the customer experience by ensuring that items are easy to find in the shop and if you cannot display everything, make it easy for the customer to find out more information. If someone asks you for something, do your best to find it for them and do not leave them waiting for long periods of time.

Don’t let chatty customers monopolise your time if others are waiting. Call for backup from a colleague as soon as queues start forming or better still if you can see that they are about to form. Never discuss customers in front of other customers. This will appear rude and inconsiderate.

When selling an item, inspect the merchandise before placing it in a bag, to make sure it’s not defective or the wrong size. Make sure customers receive everything they’ve paid for before they leave your store. Smile as you are saying goodbye and encourage the customer to come again.

Prevention of problems is much better than dealing with a complaint situation. When things get bad and you feel threatened you may need to get security to remove the person but this should be a last resort, as this is a sure way of not resolving matters. Sometimes people are only interested in complaining and no matter what you do they will never accept a solution. If this does happen, do your best to stay calm and try to have someone else with you to witness that you did your best.