How to Deal With Rude Customers at a Retail Job

Working in retails exposes you to all types of customers. Sometimes you face rude customers who frustrate you, especially if their behavior upsets other customers, laughing loudly or hurling insults, for example. Such customers may disrespect you and make it hard for you to attend to them. Approach the situation calmly and keep your voice low, as acting emotionally can jeopardize your job. Follow these steps when dealing with rude customers. 


Listen to their complaints and offer them the appropriate assistance. Do not raise your voice or respond to rude remarks. Understand the customer’s problem and try to resolve it as soon as possible. If you cannot, explain that it may take time and offer alternative solutions. However, understand that this may annoy him leading to more rude remarks.


Apologize and express your sympathy even if you know the complaint is invalid. An apology assures the customer that you are on her side and may help soften her attitude towards you. Try keeping an apologetic tone and offer to assist resolving the problem. Apologizing helps you avoid confrontation and gives your business a good reputation with the client.

Offer Help

Offer to help the rude customer fast. The shorter the time the customer spends in the store, the easier it is for you. Listen to the complaint and attend to it immediately. If you cannot offer immediate help, direct him to the relevant person, preferably away from the retail space to avoid upsetting other customers. If the problem requires time to resolve, offer alternatives that may help him pass time as he waits, for example, you can direct him to test new products.

Keep a Positive Attitude

In retail, you will face different customers, and they can easily ruin your attitude. Do not take any comments or insults from a rude customer to heart. Take pleasure in little activities, such as helping a customer find the right product or helping a mother find her lost child in the store. Appreciate customers who treat you kindly and focus on them to help you remain positive.

Do Not Take the Blame

Do not take personal responsibility if a customer complains about a product or tries to shift blame to the company. Use statements such as, “I need more information” or “I appreciate you bringing up the issue and I will make sure we help you to the best of our ability.” Taking blame can lead to lawsuits against the company and put your job at risk.

Get Help

Some situations may get out of hand. Call your supervisor or senior customer care officer for help. In case it gets physical, you might need the help of security personnel to restrain the customer. Alternatively, direct the customer to an expert, for example, the IT personnel or technical engineer.


Dealing with rude customers in the workplace can affect your attitude and demotivate you. However, remember that it is part of the job and focus on the positive. Learn to love your job and dedicate yourself to finding fulfillment in helping customers. It helps you get through tough days.

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