Why Are You Hating on Your Customer So Much?

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My ham and cheese omelet was delicious, cooked perfectly and piping hot. Bite after bite I tore into the food while thinking of what lies ahead for my day. Another swallow to savor then I heard it…

“I can’t take these people, I hate customers!”.

I looked around to see another waitress mumbling and shaking her head as she walked through the diner. She clearly was upset at something that happened. But what happened?

Does it matter?

Well, in the eyes of most managers, no, it doesn’t matter. An employee’s job, especially for those who work in the customer service industry, is to take the good with the bad and brush off the despair from challenging customers. “Do your job with a smile regardless of what happens.” Easier said than done…

Service employees are poked, prodded, demeaned, belittled, dumped-on, and scorned as part of their daily routine. But, at the same time, they are valued, complimented, appreciated, admired, and recognized for all the good they do in the service to the customer.

So, why are you hating on your customer so much?

  • Is it because you dislike people? I doubt it.
  • Is it because all the customers in your restaurant are jerks? I doubt that too.
  • Is it because you took on a job as a waiter, cashier, or another service employee because you thought it would be an easy job? Maybe that’s the case. But boy, were you wrong!

We expect much from those who provide a service to us. A pleasant smile, a warm greeting, appropriate eye contact, and a sincere thanks for our business is all we want. It’s not too much to ask for.

But, if you can’t provide these things on a regular basis AND do so even with the occasional challenging customer, then maybe the service industry isn’t for you.

  • Not everyone can be a rock star, especially those without musical talent.
  • Not everyone can be a sports star, especially those who can’t dribble or hit a ball.
  • Not everyone can be a professional speaker and command an audience of thousands, especially those with paralyzing stage fright.
  • And not everyone can provide caring and compassionate customer service if they don’t have the mindset to do so.

Stop hating on your customer so much. Many times, it’s not their fault when they’re “difficult”.

Were you angry? Were you frustrated? Were you looking for a manager to complain to? Were you thinking, “What the heck is this person doing, what’s taking them so long?”

Maybe that person is just like you; working in an industry they are not best suited for. They don’t have a love of service nor a desire to go above and beyond for the customer. They will never be able to excel like the rock star or basketball player. Their skill set is not there.

But, that’s ok. The service industry is not for everyone and maybe customer service is not your purpose in life.

It takes a special skill to sit in a call center cubicle for 8+ hours and listen to the frustrations of customers. It takes dedication to search through box after box of products of a large showroom to find that “perfect” blouse for the customer planning for that special party. It takes patience and compassion to be a teacher, caregiver, school bus driver, or cashier.

These are noble professions all in need of special people with the skill for and mindset of service.

I’ll ask again – why do you hate your customers so much?

You have skills, experience, and abilities no one else has. You know that, right? All you need to do is to find the “right” job to match these traits and you will excel in ways far beyond your imagination. I have faith in you and so should YOU.

Think of what you like to do. Identify what you’re good at. Remember how you felt when you created, built, or designed that item. Can you replicate that feeling with a job that pays a decent wage? Maybe…

I don’t have all the answers but do know that we shouldn’t be hating on the customer. We should be doing what we do best, and when we do, our service mindset will naturally develop into what we desire from others; friendly, caring, and attentive service.

Let 2019 be your best year ever and the most profitable one too. Find your calling and make your life better, one small step at a time. Good luck!

10 COMMENTS

  1. C’mon Steve, if you’ve really had 20+ years in the hospitality industry, you must’ve witnessed every nightmare customer imaginable. So you should know why people are hating on their customers so much. Anyway, let me tell you why dealing with customers was the worst job I ever had:
    Customers DON”T CARE. It’s as simple as that. They obey rules only when it suits them, they don’t care that there is a till limit, they cut queues. When I was working in retail (24 years ago), the message I got loud and clear every day was: I DON”T CARE. I don’t care about you, I don’t care about your company or its policies, I don’t care about the other people in the queue. I only care about myself. Why should anyone care about providing a good service to people who don’t care about them? Retail workers don’t get paid any more for serving more customers, they just get more stress. There is nothing in it for the workers.

  2. Hi Kim,
    Well, I bet we can go back and forth forever on this issue and still have a difference of opinion. Sure, in 20+ years, I’ve seen my share of rude, uncaring, and insensitive customers. But I’ve also seen the same in employees. We always point blame at others without seeing if our actions are the cause.

    Make a customer wait forever, they get upset. Don’t staff enough employees for the business volume, expect them to cut the line. Continue to provide poor and uncaring service, expect them to not care about you because the poor service shows we don’t care about them.

    I’m tired of blaming the customer for our failed actions. We must look in the mirror first and see what he/she can do better to make the customer happy.

  3. Don’t staff enough employees for the business volume – that is the fault of management, not the staff. In the same way that you don’t blame the customer for cutting the line, you shouldn’t blame the staff for being short and rude either.

    Actually, I was VERY polite to customers. But by their very actions, they showed that they had nothing but contempt for store policies. E.g. Our store had a simple policy: No bags are to be issued for single purchases of newspapers and magazines. Even though I patiently explained this rule many times, the customers’ attitude always seemed to be “Look, I don’t care what your policy is, I just want a bag, okay?”.

    In the UK now, customers are being forced to pay 10p for every carrier bag they want. Suddenly, they don’t seem to need the bags so urgently anymore. It really serves the customer right.

  4. I think the author of the article either hasn’t dealt with people on a regular basis in the same way as a cashier or waiter/waitress in some time, or is by nature a people pleaser. Which yes , that temperament is ideal for customer service jobs. However, to dismiss workers who tire of dealing with people and state that they aren’t suited for the job is really overlooking a lot of things. For one, they do exhausting, repetitive work for meager pay. Second, many people have to take the job they can get even if it’s not ideal fit. To expect people to be cherry robots is out of touch and unempathetic. It also underestimates how thankless, high maintenance and needy, and rude many people are. It also underestimates how mentally exhausting it is to repeat the same motions or repeat the same phrases hundreds of times a day (ie, “do you have a rewards card?” ). Or how obnoxious it is to try to tend to other tasks and as soon as you try to start something customers pop up like ants from a kicked ant hill.

  5. Hi BV,
    I have supervised waiters and bartenders for over 20 years in various high volume restaurants and hotels so yes, I do have some experience in dealing with people on a regular basis. I am not a people pleasure but I do give the customer the benefit of the doubt, especially when we can show them the service they desire. I have also built many exceptional service-minded teams who go out of their way to be a good employee and even better service provider.

    Sure, it’s a thankless job at times but also rewarding too. But it takes a special person to deal with all the highs and lows of any position that deals directly with customers. Do we wish customers understood the challenges we face? Of course. But the customer also wishes the waiter understands their needs and expectations to.

    If your position requires you to repeat a certain phrase or answer the same questions time and time again, so be it. That is the requirement of the job and we must deal with it.

    Customer service is a two-way street where both parties need to do their part for service to be considered top notch. But if the service provider holds on to the notion the customer is always wrong or difficult, they will always see them as obnoxious for wanting to be a customer and give you their hard-earned money.

  6. This article is just a tad daft.

    Many people work as servers because it’s all that is available to them and they need to make a living. Sometimes in life you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.

  7. Steve is clearly in management. Maybe upper management. He isn’t customer facing much anymore. And he’s saying what a manager is supposed to say.

    The reality behind the shortage of staff, and the hatred of the customer, lies in the fact that we are now a service economy. But most of us don’t care for the work itself. So often, if you want (need) a job, it’s going to be customer service— like it or not.

    It’s the new factory, the factory of churning out happy customers.

  8. Hi Anne,
    You are correct, I am in upper management. But you’re incorrect in saying that I am not customer-facing anymore. Nothing can be further from the truth. What has made me successful is my focus on the customer, not office paperwork. This is how we can “see” and “feel” the experience of the customer while also evaluating the employees entrusted to serve them.

    As I mentioned in the article, not everyone is cut out for the service industry. And I hope the industry never becomes the next “factory”.

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