Bad customers are becoming more common. People are behaving more entitled to the point where the customers act more entitled than the servers and customer service agents. Last week I wrote about bad customer service and that, in my opinion, it is getting a great deal worse in the UK especially. Coming from overseas after such a long time away, I was shocked at how bad it has become. Even during the Covid Pandemic, did we all come together?
What is a bad customer?
So, in a world where the customer is apparently always right, can there be such a bad customer? I look at this from my perspective, where my customers are effectively people within the corporation requiring me to fulfil their training needs, along with my partner, who works in the Food and Beverage industry and is five star trained, having worked in the Middle East and now in the UK.
To this day I cannot believe how badly customers will treat employees. The fact that the employee only works there, they are not the owner and generally will not make policy. But some people are more than happy to get in their face and blame them for everything that has gone wrong in this world.
Next are five different types of bad behaviours me and my partner have seen increasingly since returning to the UK.
The Demanding/ Bully/ Aggressive Customer.
These people are quick to get angry, highly critical, rude, arrogant, and verbally abusive. They think the world owes them a favour and will happily scream and shout publicly, even getting physically violent.
In the past, I have seen these people in positions of power who understand that if you stand up to them, they can either kill your career or your employment. Typically, these would be the boys at school who would get bullied daily and now how the chance to bully back without any risk to themselves. The higher they get the worse their behaviour becomes.
I have work with a lot of Directors in the past who fall into this category. However not many in the military, possibly because we have nothing to prove once in uniform.
People in this category have also been given a name “Karen’s”. Search for it on YouTube and enjoy.
These customers will complain about anything and everything. The layout of your shop, the temperature, and prices. You cannot please these people in any way.
For my partner, this behaviour generally continues to offer a refund or something free.
For me, this generally indicates someone with a hidden agenda, and that is generally someone trying to throw you under the bus.
The Confused/ Indecisive Customer.
These customers, for me, fall into the bad manager category because they refuse to make the decision just in case it’s the wrong one.
These customers will just not make a decision, and no matter how much you spoon-feed them the information and answers to their questions, they will not make it. They will continuously ask the same question but worded in a different way and effectively suck up all of your time.
For my partner, this behaviour gets servers bored, confused and irritated. Generally leading to mistakes.
The confused customers I come across are again bad managers who cannot make decisions due to a lack of knowledge or ability.
The Impatient Customer.
This is the kind of customer who doesn’t care about the fact that something is not available or can’t be done at the moment. They can’t imagine you don’t have the service you want. They can’t believe you’re closed at 6 pm and you don’t offer an out of hours contact.
Also, they can’t show it in any other way than by resorting to anger with phrases like: “I can’t believe it” and “I want your manager”. These people will also generally resort to rude and insulting comments.
The Know-it-all Customer.
These customers will try to showcase their CVs and knowledge about your company, your products, and your customer base.
They will dominate the conversation with knowledge and will almost always be rude and condescending.
Generally, if you challenge these people, they will falter as generally, all the information they impart is the depth of their knowledge.
Results of bad customers
Now I am not saying that the UK is the only place where you see bad customers. I do think western society has the largest share. Whilst working overseas, I would often see the above behaviours, and much of the time, it was from someone living in the entitled west.
For my partner, the behaviour of the UK customer has become so bad she is considering quitting the F&B industry and throwing all her talents and experience in the bin. Currently, she is trying to figure out what job she can do that does not require interaction with customers.
At least two times in the last three years, my partner has had the “why can’t you speak English” comment. My partner’s English is better than mine. My partner speaks her native Tagalog, Visayas, English and a little Arabic.
I constantly feel guilty and humiliated by my country as it was I who brought my partner here and exposed her to this treatment.
A word of warning.
Most people who fall into the above categories will get right up in your face, especially the first one. There will only be one thing between you and them, which will be their phones.
When you react or retaliate, they have it all on video. Within minutes your face in the “edited version” of their video will be all over social media portraying you as the bad guy, and generally, your boss will not care that it has been doctored.
In the UK, you cannot stop someone from recording you. So, the best advice would be to remove yourself from the conversation and the sight of the person with the camera.
Also, remember, however, that you will see this on the news. When there is a situation, every idiot with a smartphone will start recording on the chance they will get a payday.