Dealing with rude customers - online business - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 19 Old 08-17-2008, 07:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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How do you handle rude customers? I know I am NOT cut out for retail work; unforunately, the current stage of our website is heavily focused on retail. We're trying to streamline things and avoid high maintainence people.

I am sensitive to begin with but I am at such a loss when a customer curses at me. I get cursed out because an item is out of stock or they don't like the shipping or because they did not receive an item but the delivery address is correct AND I have delivery confirmation. What really sucks is when a customer takes their frustration out of the item and returns it and I am unable to salvage the item so I lose money on the item and the shipping and handling.

I'm not rude back to them. I try to help them out as much as possible but once you start cursing at me.... While I am sure that those people do not want to do business with us again, I do put them on a block list. Any other tips, other than to not take it personally?
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#2 of 19 Old 08-18-2008, 02:23 AM
 
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Is your online system charging a customer for an item only for them to find out later that it is out of stock and then they have to wait for a refund?

If so, you may want to look into changing that and only charge when the order has been fulfilled. Otherwise, why are they so mad?

As far as returning items, do you have a return policy and do you send that on an invoice with the product?

As a consumer, I would expect the return policy to say that the item must be returned in it's original packaging/condition in order to receive a full refund unless their is a manufacturer defect.

People who are so mad and curse often don't want to be helped. They just want to be mad. It's easier for people to act that way over the phone than it would be in person.

Sorry you've had some irritable customers. Just let them roll of your back and keep on truckin'.
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#3 of 19 Old 08-18-2008, 09:47 AM
 
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That really stinks. I used to do sales for new home construction, and I'd get crabbed at on almost a daily basis. I guess, all I can say, is that at some point you build up a tolerance.

Also, I see that you say you are blocking customers. I assume that means their IP address? Just a word of caution that you could be blocking a lot more than just that one person's IP when you do that. I don't know exactly how it works, but I know that can happen.

Good luck, hang in there!

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#4 of 19 Old 08-18-2008, 12:59 PM
 
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I worked in retail for several years and I learned that the best way to deal with rude customers is not to take it too personally (though it can be hard).

At 16 years of age, I started my very first job at a fast food restaurant. On my second day of work (I was still in training and trying to learn things), one customer banged her hands on the counter top and yelled at me "YOU ARE TOO SLOW!". I went to the bathroom after I filled her order and cried, of course. I realized from my experience from working at the fast food restaurant for more than a year that hungry customers can get very upset for no fault of your own. What I learned is apologize as soon as they tell me that they are upset. "I'm really sorry about that" and I tried my best to fix the situation. You'll be amazed how ANGRY customers will quickly change their attitude once you sincerely apology (even if it is not your own fault). If a customer had to wait several minutes for their order to be filled, I gave them extra piece of friend chicken (or fries) and thanked them for their patience, apologized for the delay to prevent the customers from getting upset.

At another retail store I worked (beauty product store) had an excellent return policy. So, there were some customers abused that return policy. One customer returned a nail polish with water inside (it's suppose to be a clear polish). I asked my manager how they deal with some of the abusive customers... and their response was that those abusive customers are few compare to honest customers. So, they still keep their excellent return policy because they want to keep good reputation in the communtiy.
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#5 of 19 Old 08-18-2008, 06:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks ladies. It's not every single customer... just the really rude ones that bother me. 99% of the customers are fine.

We don't charge credit cards until the item ships. If we have just sold out of the product the customer ordered, I offer them alternative items that are similar to what they ordered, ETA of our next shipment and the option to cancel.

I was just upset over the last customer. He sent me 2 nasty emails because he never received his package. He confirmed his address and it was the correct address to where the item was shipped. It was sent with Delivery confirmation and USPS confirmed it was delivered. I suggested he talk to his local postal carrier or the Post Office since everything I have showed that the item was delivered correctly and on time and mail theft is a federal offense. He used several expletives and it just really bothered me.

Then it reminded me of another customer I had who was upset with an item he ordered and I suggested he talk to the manufacturer of the item because common problems were actually the result of poor installation. He wanted a different item so I said ok, and shipped out the new item once I had confirmation that he had returned the previous item. It came back chopped up. Seriously. It was not returned in the same manner that it had been shipped and it was not chopped up due to shipping damages. I mean, seriously?!?!?! Now we'll never know if the item really was defective or what. sigh....

Most of our customers are fine and we've had several people who really do enjoy working with us. I need to dig out those emails and paste them around my desk!!!
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#6 of 19 Old 08-18-2008, 07:02 PM
 
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Hey, congrats on your new pregnancy! Something must be in the water these days!

Carrin Mama to Sawyer 4/06 and TTC #2 I am a WAHM!
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#7 of 19 Old 08-18-2008, 07:30 PM
 
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It sounds like you just got a couple of rude customers which is expected.

I'd like to add my opinion on your mail services....I'm a customer service junkie...I like to give and get good service.

If I was expecting a package and it didn't come and I called you about it, I would expect you to do the footwork and check with your postal service since you hold the receipt and delivery confirmation ticket. I think that good customer service is complete when the business has made sure the package reaches the customers hands.

That's just my opinion though and I'm sure missing packages is a rarity.
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#8 of 19 Old 08-18-2008, 08:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks Carrin!

I'm okay with customers' being frustrated. I'm okay with them wanting to speak to a manager. I am not okay with someone saying f#@$ b@$%3 g#@#$d$#^ you piece of s#$%. To me, swearing is never ok.

janasmama, I'm going to hand the guy off to DH. DH said he's shipped items to this guy before, claimed to never have received the original so we sent out another one at our expense so DH thinks he is just trying to continue getting free goods from us.

Hey, I noticed we're somewhat neighbors!! Where in CA are you? I'm in the SF South Bay area.

Some days I really miss working at my old law office and letting my boss say to clients, you know what, I think another firm can handle your needs better. Buh-bye!
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#9 of 19 Old 08-18-2008, 08:45 PM
 
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Ah, he's one of those that no matter what you do he wouldn't be happy. I agree, he's either got a mail theft problem or is trying to get free stuff.

I wouldn't take people cussing at me either. My DH gets like that on the phone sometimes and I hate that he does that.... I would just say when they are ready to be civilized I'll be ready to help them.

We live east of Bakersfield. : We're not happy here and will be moving soon. We used to live in Placerville, east of Sacramento. much better there but Cali is a little too expensive for us.

What do you sell online?
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#10 of 19 Old 08-18-2008, 08:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I couldn't live in Bakersfield. Too hot! Our weather here is pretty mild but when it gets to 90, I am sooo wishing we had A/C! But I love going to hot weather places for vacation, go figure.

Short answer, we sell Americana items and musical instruments.

DH used to run several music manufacturing companies so he knows all about the instruments. What we want to do with the business for future/long term plans is to create an Americana resource site and promote live local music. DH "lured" me to help him by telling me we'd go to concerts and clubs and sign artists, the "fun" stuff. Things change, partners change but we're adapting. The retail portion of the website is not our focus forever but it definately keeps things afloat while we work on the other aspects!
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#11 of 19 Old 08-18-2008, 09:05 PM
 
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we do not live in Bakersfield (barf). I despise Bakersfield. We live at 4k feet and it is much cooler here. Just nothing to do.
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#12 of 19 Old 08-18-2008, 09:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ahh, gotcha!! Do you happen to live in Tehachapi??
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#13 of 19 Old 08-19-2008, 09:43 AM
 
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Your "lost mail" customer sounds like a scam artist to me. he's trying to make you cry and give in so you send him another package. I don't think he'll handle your dh the same way, but he will try to extract another shipment from him some other way. If he does have a mail theft problem, he'd have experienced this with other online retailers and not get all in YOUR face about it. That screams scam and manipulation to me. You've got a real jerk on your hands.

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#14 of 19 Old 08-19-2008, 06:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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[QUOTE=kokonutmama;11981445] he's trying to make you cry... QUOTE]

kokonutmama, unforunately, making me cry (in private) is easy to do!! More so now that I am pregnant!! DH is going to "Screen" the messages first for me, in case of any complaints so that I can handle the rest of our business and not be upset. I really do have a backbone!!!
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#15 of 19 Old 08-19-2008, 11:25 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kssinca View Post
kokonutmama, unforunately, making me cry (in private) is easy to do!! More so now that I am pregnant!! DH is going to "Screen" the messages first for me, in case of any complaints so that I can handle the rest of our business and not be upset. I really do have a backbone!!!
This is what I was going to recommend. Two years ago, I started getting really frustrated with the helpdesk -- rude customers, the same questions over and over and over again, despite all my published materials.

So, I fired myself from the helpdesk and brought in people that could take care of the basic hosting questions without taking everything too personally.

Now that I'm not bogged down in every single ticket, I can give my attention to the big issues so that the customer with a problem ends up being happy. And the customer with a "little" question is happy, too.

As for rude customers, I also had a guy who wrote some scathing helpdesk tickets to me because he couldn't access his account from the UK, even though the servers were running and accessible from multiple locations in the US, Eurupe and Australia (as verified by a third party).

So, I suggested that since he was obviously very uphappy with my services, he should look at moving elsewhere ASAP. He was immediately and profusely apologetic and never behaved in such an uncivilized manner again.

I can't figure out why he didn't just start out being nice?!

People are weird. LOL!

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#16 of 19 Old 08-20-2008, 09:45 PM
 
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What I would recommend for customers who claim that they have not received the package (even with delivery confirmation) is

1. ask them to check with neighbors or someone else in the household. Sometimes, family members/neighbors forgets to tell the customer that a package has arrived.

2. from now on, all the package that you send to this particular customer has to be with signature confirmation.
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#17 of 19 Old 08-21-2008, 12:27 PM
 
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I know. People can be extra ballsy when they don't have to look you in the face and can just shoot off a nasty email. I do customer service for the amazon side of our company and some of the customers can be real winners. [/sarcasm]

There is a "touch" to email customer service. You have to get a feel for your customer before you have even met them and then base your responces on that. Most of all LOTS OF APOLOGIES! I know it's soul crushing, but as you are writing "And please don't hesitate to contact me with other questions" You are really thinking FRACK OFF AND DIE!!!

being PG probably doesn't help.

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#18 of 19 Old 08-21-2008, 02:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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You are really thinking FRACK OFF AND DIE!!!

being PG probably doesn't help.

Lol, YES!!!!!
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#19 of 19 Old 08-21-2008, 03:34 PM
 
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"And please don't hesitate to contact me with other questions" You are really thinking FRACK OFF AND DIE!!!
That's hilarious! That's EXACTLY the phrase I use at the end of an email if I sense someone is either being nasty or is about to, or their question was really stupid. It's like, "go ahead, try me!" If I ever write that to one of you guys, well, now you know my secret, lol. I used it on bf once, he didn't get it.

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