How to deal with angry customers who insult you? A message to all those employed in the service industry and hospitality industry

I am well on my way to reading one book every week  pursuant to my new year’s resolution. This week, I am exploring “The magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz. In one chapter he narrates a  story of an irate guest at a hotel who sent a telegram to reserve a room for a single occupant but who came to the hotel clerk requesting  hotel room with double occupancy. The customer insulted the clerk threatening to have him fired and questioned his intelligence. The young clerk apologized but declared that he was merely following instructions.

The author was next in line to deal with the clerk but was pleasantly surprised when the clerk greeted him warmly. The author told the clerk that he admired the way that he dealt with the previous customer. The clerk stated that he refused to be infuriated by a customer like that, he empathised with the man and supposed that he was having marital problems and that the man used him as a scapegoat to feel superior. The clerk added that “…underneath he is  probably a nice guy, most folks are…”

The author then suggested that we remember this statement the next time someone “declares war on us. He said the best way to deal with situations like this is to let the other person say their piece, then forget about it”.

We have nothing to lose by following this approach. Instead of responding to their insults , especially for those of us who work in the service industry, it is wise to hold our tongue. There is nothing to gain by charging with bitter words. The other person may in fact be experiencing some trying times and may simply want attention. Although you may find that your minimum wage does not pay you enough to take insults, I am sure by the following week that you will forget the exchange of words.

About the Author: Antoinette Sydney LLB LEC CAMLFC CFRMP, Bar No. SYA2015211, Attorney at Law. The author is the first Online Lawyer based in Trinidad and Tobago. Her entire Law Practice is based Online using technology. Client meetings are conducted at mutually convenient meeting points. She has clients in Guyana, St Vincent, Barbados, the British Virgin Islands and North America. She specializes in Corporate Law and Anti-Money Laundering Compliance. She helps clients to start their Online Business Empire.

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TREAT EVERYONE WITH RESPECT

I love doubles. For my international readers, “doubles” is a common street food in Trinidad and Tobago. It consists of  two baras (flat fried bread) filled with curry channa (curried chick peas). Extra condiments can be added for taste as well as sauces. My favourite doubles vendor sells in Curepe and I visit weekly to indulge in the delicacy. I enjoy eating the doubles standing and I usually make conversation wit the other people eating. I was devouring my third doubles and I could not get enough. I noticed a man who appeared to be homeless approaching the doubles vendor. He wore trousers without a shirt and he had no shoes. He said “Jared…Jared”, the doubles vendor who was collecting cash said “Yes. Mr Williams”. At this time I was considering buying another doubles, then Jared told the homeless man to stand to the right with the other customers who were eating doubles standing and he will be served. The homeless man complied and received his doubles. He stood there and ate his doubles, he watched me and I watched him. I was quietly impressed with the turn of events. I am used to seeing food vendors chase away homeless persons from their establishments. This time, the doubles vendors were indifferent to the financial standing of the homeless man.

Imagine a world where we respected everyone regardless of their race, sexuality or political affiliations. Imagine a world where we treated homeless persons with dignity and  kindly refused when they asked us for money. Instead we curse them and advise them to get jobs when they ask for donations. The doubles vendors displayed great professionalism in referring to the homeless man by his name, and then serving him in the same line as everyone else. There was no unequal treatment, no discrimination and I am sure the homeless man was able to hold on to his dignity.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A.Sydney is an attorney at law based in Trinidad and Tobago. She specializes in AML/CFT/Tax Compliance, and provides Corporate Secretarial Services. Feel free to explore the website for her portfolio of companies: http://asydneygroup.com .

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