Handling Difficult Customers - Rubric with Activities

Classroom Activity - Option 1

Student Activity:

You are a salesperson in an upscale department store. As you begin straightening merchandise on the counters, you notice that a customer has come into your department. You’ve never assisted this customer, but you’ve heard other employees talking about the difficulties they’ve encountered with the person. They’ve indicated that they try to avoid the customer whenever possible. This is your opportunity to demonstrate your skills in handling a difficult customer.

Read the following store policies and customer situations. Be prepared for all situations. Write a response to each situation explaining what you would do. Some of your store’s policies are as follows:

•     Goods will be accepted for exchange or refund only when accompanied by a sales receipt.

•     Refunds are given up to 30 days after a purchase.

•     A credit to a customer’s account will be issued for sale items that are returned.

•     Salespeople do not make cash refunds. Those must be obtained through the credit office by presenting the sales receipt and product.

•     Goods with obvious signs of wear and tear cannot be returned.

•     Salespeople should contact security when they suspect a customer of shoplifting. They should watch the customer closely but not accuse the customer of shoplifting.

Situation A: The customer stops to examine picture frames. You approach to be of assistance. In response to your approach, the customer says, “Are you stupid? Of course, I know the advantages of glare-free glass.”

Situation B: As you approach, the customer takes a phone out of the shopping bag s/he is carrying and says, “This phone is no good; the buttons broke off and it shuts off all the time. I want my money back.” The customer presents a receipt. You notice that the receipt two years old and that the phone has many scratches and chipped edges.

Situation C: As you approach, the customer says, “I want your very best sunglasses. I always buy the best. No need to waste time buying less than the best. Like I always say, you get what you pay for.”

Situation D: After you explained the benefits of a tablet to a customer, s/he asks, “Are you sure this is as good as or better than a laptop? If it’s so good, why do they still make laptops? What kind of problems do people have with them? What’s its warranty? What if I don’t end up liking it?

Situation E: As you approach a customer who is looking at formal attire, the customer turns to you and says, “I don’t know what to buy for the prom. Should it be light or dark? Fancy or plain? I just don’t know. What do you think?”

You will be evaluated using the rubric provided.