Employee vs. Customer Retail Management Success Guides and Tools Retail Management Courses Retail Business Opportunity DMSRetail Consulting Services Retail Membership Program Retail Success Tips Retail Articles Ultimate Retail Success Collection Retail Management Blog


Retail Employees vs. Customers

By John Callaghan, Senior Consultant, DMSRetail

Click to subscribe and get five free summaries!

After viewing a ‘down with retail’ website today, I find myself very disturbed at the distance that has developed in the understanding between some retail employees and customers. Wild generalizations are being made such as ‘customers have no respect for retail employees’ and ‘retail employees don’t care about their customers’.

I believe strongly in customer satisfaction and I devote a lot of time and energy trying to develop those same beliefs in retail personnel through discussions and training programs.

Today, I read the bitter complaints of a wide cross section of retail employees. Some of these employees are clearly in the wrong business. While many of them have a few good points and - I must say, my empathy - the majority are intent on letting the poor behavior of a few miserable individuals sour their views on their jobs and the industry altogether.

Retail jobs, like any other jobs, are what the individuals make of them. There will always be the ‘bad day’ and the ‘customer from hell’. That is not unique to retail.

It is true, of course that retail employees tend to be paid at the lower end of the wage scale and that is something that certainly should be changed but that is not an excuse to adopt a ‘poor me’ attitude. Still, the low wages may be the basis for the intolerance of some. How many times have we heard ‘They don’t pay me enough to take this abuse.” But that just doesn’t wash. How much should one be paid to take abuse, anyway?

Let’s get the question of compensation out of the way because it cannot be allowed to be relevant in the area of customer service. As much as the issue warrants serious discussion and consideration it is simply not the absolute answer to all of our customer satisfaction concerns and, if we cannot move past it for the sake of discussion and progress, then we will forever be at a loss to get better.

Once an individual has accepted employment and has, obviously, agreed to the compensation for the position the rate of pay can not be used as an excuse for anything. When that rate of pay is no longer acceptable to the individual it is their duty to find a way to increase it or seek employment elsewhere. 

Retail, of course, is open to the public making it an uncontrolled environment. Unless a person entering a store is carrying a weapon, or is acting in a wildly abusive manner, he/she is allowed to enter the premises. The retail employee may be subjected to some less than desirable behavior but they do not have to stand for being abused, ridiculed, threatened or mistreated in any way. The member of management who says they do does not understand their management role. All citizens deserve respect regardless of where they work. There are ways to handle disruptive, abusive customers. Repeat offenders can be banned from your premises. 

The key for retail employees who are dissatisfied and intent on painting all customers with the same brush is to realize they have two choices: 1) become a positive, enthusiastic member of the retail community and work toward a better understanding or 2) resign and start a career in a different industry. Basically, love it or leave it. Stop torturing yourself and those around you.

Customers are not a particular group that can be trained to act as a particular individual would like them to. Customers are not obligated to follow any retailer’s policy manual. Customers are not the retail employees’ enemy. Let’s give this a little thought the next time we are tempted to make general comments about ‘all’ customers. We do want customers in our retail stores, don’t we? That is the general idea after all.  

You can contact John Callaghan at jcallaghan@dmsretail.com

Return to Viewpoint Main Page


The Retail Business Academy - Most Definitive Resource Center for Retail Management

Please click on the banner for information

Retail Business Academy

Retail Management Training Programs

Best Practices for Managing a Multi-Unit Retail Operation

If you own or are in charge of multiple stores, this is the ultimate training to get. Everything you need to know to make sure your stores are firing in all cylinders and zooming fast to success you have not seen before. Click below for more information and registration:

Best Practices for Managing a Multi-Unit Retail Operation

The Retail Operations Management Workshop

Highly rated 3-day Training Workshop  for retail managers who are interested in cutting edge information and advanced concepts in Retail Management. Join us for 3 days of top retail management training and workshop to enlighten and energize yourself to perform at the leading edge of the profession. This is one of the best investments you can make in your professional and personal development. Click below for more information and registration:

The Retail Management Workshop

"How You Can Reach the Maximum Potential of Your Store(s)?"

with DMSRetail's

Starter Retail Success Bundle

And Beat the Performance Curve, FAST

 Management Blueprint to Create Your Own Retail Success Machine

Find Out

New! 5 more success tools and 5 bonuses added! Save even more!

Super Retail Success Bundle

Super Retail Success Bundle

  Retail Management Newsletter                

 Spread the Word: DMSRetail + FacebookDMSRetail + Google+DMSRetail + LinkedInDMSRetail + TwitterDMSRetail + YouTubeRetail Management Blog Feed

Retail Success through effective performance leadership, training and technology!

DMSRetail Privacy Policy

Send mail to webmaster@dmsretail.com with questions or comments about this web site.
Copyright © 2003-2016 DMSRetail Inc, All Rights Reserved.