I have been working at the same job since I was sixteen, and I absolutely love it. I have been very blessed with all of the opportunities this job has presented me with. I have received more work experience at this one job that most people can get in three. I’m able to teach a group of people of any age, run a classroom, run a museum, run a front desk, conduct meetings, and do so many other things. Saturdays are the most busy days the museum has, and I am put in charge. We can have up to four birthday parties every Saturday and invite any outside guest to come in.
The past couple weeks just happened to be some of the most stressful days I have had working here. Generally, a party consists of roughly 20-30 people total, including parents and kids. Two weeks ago on Saturday, however, we had a party with over 50 people! At this same time, I had two other party groups down here with 15+ people a piece. On top of those, we had many groups down here to just look at and enjoy the hands-on museum. Needless to say, it was a very busy day!
With all of those people down here, we had a few non-party guests that were less than happy with the party guests that were present in the building. As I am trying to deal with the new, huge 15+ person party group that just came down, a very angry parent begins to yell at me about how he is furious about his visit and how he wants his money back. His family was in our 4 and under toddler area and were being harassed by older children that did not belong in there. There are some rules that must be followed in these situations:
1. Don’t Lose Your Cool.
At this point, I was beginning to stress out trying to figure out what the unscheduled birthday group needed to pay for their visit. This random parent yelling was definitely not helping my mood, and coworkers were coming up to me with other various problems that needed to be handled. But no matter what is happening or how much they yell at you, you must stay calm. I looked at the angry father and said with a smile on my face that I would be happy to refund him his money. I apologized for his poor visit and told him that I hoped he would come back again on a day that was not so crazy. The phrase “the customer is always right” really comes into play here. My mind did not agree with anything I was saying. I had so many colorful terms I wanted to throw his way, but I needed to put on a positive, professional face. I, however, went home and vented for about half an hour afterwords. It’s always better to get all of your emotions out rather than hold them in.
2. Apologize and Encourage Them to Return.
They probably realize that it is not your fault that their visit was less than enjoyable, but they are looking to complain to someone and you might be the only one around. You should still apologize for their bad experience even though it isn’t your fault. They are paying customers, and you want to put on a good face for your business. I love my job, and I want it to succeed. However, as a non-profit organization, we need people to enjoy visiting us, continue to come back, and tell their friends about us. I really encouraged them to return on another day, and they said they would. I hope they will so that they can see how awesome of a museum it is when we aren’t packed full.
3. Make Sure They Leave Happy!
You never know how much business you will lose if you let a customer leave angry. We all have friends that we talk to and tell our experiences to. If you let a customer leave angry, they may happen to be the most popular person in your city or state, and they could go tell all of their friends how terrible of a business you have and how rude of employees work there. I made sure my customers left happy and encouraged to return. You never know how much of a positive effect this could have!
We are all going to have to deal with rude, angry, unfriendly people at some point in our life. Make sure you stay calm and positive with each one. Just remember, you can curse, cry, and vent once your are in your car or at home. Focus on the good days you have had and forget about the bad ones. It may be difficult, but your kindness and positivity could go a long ways!