Training Lessons from a YouTube Video of an Angry Customer

There are dozens of videos on YouTube that show angry or disgruntled customers. Some show customers behaving badly. Others show employees doing the same. They’re very unpleasant to watch, but many of them teach valuable lessons about how employees should be trained to work better with customers.

Here’s one video – admittedly disturbing to watch – that shows a situation that could easily have been prevented with more effective planning and training . . .

 

Please note that we are not blaming or criticizing the restaurant franchise chain where that situation arose, just making some recommendations about how similar problems can be avoided by training.

  • Train employees about special offers and promotions. We don’t know for certain, but it seems pretty clear that the cashier in that video had never been briefed about the $5 promotion that caused the conflict. He apparently didn’t understand it, didn’t know how to represent it and had no knowledge base to fall back on if “issues” arose. No company with front-line employees should allow that to happen. Effective training can head off this problem.
  • Make sure your front-line people know exactly what your signs mean. This seems to be a problem that crops up in franchises – and it can be avoided. The franchising company sends out signs or displays that present special offers, franchisees put those materials on display . . . but the “nuts and bolts” of how that offer works are worked out on a situation-by-situation basis with customers. The result? More often than not, misunderstandings and conflicts like the one that the video shows. Just a little planning and training can prevent the problem.
  • Train employees to resolve customer conflicts quickly. Granted, the customer in the video behaves pretty badly, but only after being repeatedly frustrated by the cashier. If the cashier had been trained to defuse conflicts immediately – by offering to respect the price that the customer thought he was supposed to pay, or even by offering a free food item if a customer became displeased – things would never have escalated to that point. This kind of problem can be avoided entirely if employees are taught some basic skills of customer service.
  • Create secondary conflict-resolution procedures and train employees to use them. The cashier stated that he was “not paid enough” to deal with conflict. That is a very damaging message for any company to send to its customers. If the cashier had been able to say, “Sir, my manager can help you,” that might have avoided that problem and resolved the conflict before it became extreme. Again, this category of problem can be avoided through a well-conceived program of customer service and/or food service training.

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