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Dealing with unruly customers who use racist remarks

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The last thing any business owner wants is an angry customer. But when that angry customer starts making racist remarks, it goes to another level. Dealing with a customer like that can be tough, but here are some ideas that should help the situation to pass.

  • The one thing that you have to remember is to stay calm. If you start to get angry, that will just fuel the customer some more. Keep your head about you and keep breathing as usual. It is okay to ask a superior to step in if the employee is getting yelled at and is having a hard time keeping cool.
  • Keep your voice down with your temper. If you are acting unprofessionally then you are giving the customer a reason to act the same way. Even if you are finding the remarks personally offensive, don't stoop down to their level. Keep a professional tone of voice.
  • Offer them the chance to explain why they are upset. Don't be afraid to ask them to watch their tongue, explain that there are children around or that you don't feel that your employees need to hear that. If they want to take them to a back office, or even outside. Let them tell their story, if they can tell it is a calm and peaceful manner.
  • Do your best to remove race from the situation. This means if they are talking a bout a certain employee to remove them from the picture, if they feel that they have been discriminated against then remove the offending employee. Or if they are making remarks about you, the manager or owner, then find someone else to control the situation.
  • If you cannot get control of the situation, it is alright to have an employee call the police. They will be able to get control of the situation physically. If they start to leave when they know the police are coming, get their license plate number. It is okay to get the authorities involved if the problem is only escalating, don't let it get out of control.
  • If your business has a database, put a red flag on their information. This puts up a reminder that they have caused problems before. You may choose to refuse service to them in the future or simply just know that they are a potential problem. You do reserve the right to refuse service, if they are going to cause more problems, then you are very right to do so.
  • Talk with your employees, make sure that they are not part of the problem. Also help your employees know how to handle the situation. Be sure that you are standing behind your employees as well, if not then you are showing that your business is not united and working together.
  • Do your best to make sure that your business has no place for racism. This means hiring many different races, religions, and elasticities. Don't discriminate with your employees or your customers. If the customer has no grounds, then you are going to better be able to fix their problem.
  • You don't have to listen to racist remarks, do if they don't stop then it is alright to walk away. Don't leave them in a small store front alone, that might encourage theft, but you don't have to respond. It doesn't have to be tolerated or excused, you are very justified in taking action. That action might be as simple as refusing service, or it might be reporting them to the police.

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Posted by DF
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