Learn how to deal with a “Karen Customer”
Karens or Karen Customer are known for their loud, confrontational behavior and the tendency to act entitled. They often don’t listen to the rules and demands of others.
How to identify “Karen Customer”
Customers who complain can be labeled as Karen Customer. However, that would be a huge mistake. No business or service offers a perfect customer experience all of the time, and errors are made from time to time. How you handle your mistakes will define how your customers perceive your business. A poorly managed situation can spread like wildfire, whereas a well-managed outcome builds brand and customer loyalty.
There are two things to consider when dealing with Karen customers: First, we can listen, understand and respond to what they say. You will soon realize that their line of argument or point lacks substance and they’re looking for a free meal at your expense. Second, we must look at what happened. In this example, if you return their fries without even bothering to taste them then there is no reason for us to refund them. If a customer refuses to offer evidence that their meal was unsatisfactory, then it would be unreasonable for a business owner to hand over money simply because the customer says that “nothing tasted right.”
- You can use the following structure to inform the Karen Customer that you want to help them but that you cannot do so until they stop shouting and explain what has happened: This is a formal complaint. Please stop talking loudly. As an employee of University College London, I am required to deal with these types of complaints in a professional manner. If you continue shouting at me I will be forced to cancel all further meetings. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.
- In order to manage the Karen Customer situation, I ask that you move them to one of the side stalls and listen to what they have to say. If they are refusing to move, then please call the police and ask someone else to take payments. We will minimize disruption to customers by not having a new queue when there are only two people at a till.
- The situation that you have experienced is very unfortunate, we all came into work as scheduled and were ready to do what was asked of us. I understand this may have been an upsetting and disappointing experience for you, however, it is not the way we are run at Karen’s. We value our team and your co-workers, so please let me know if there is anything else I can do.
- If you find yourself dealing with Karen, try to remain calm and professional. Do not lose your composure, as their behavior is usually an objective indicator of their intent (for example, they are angry), and once they start to let loose, it’s often too late to get them under control.
The United States has a number of laws that can affect you as a business owner. For instance, the federal government has rules and regulations in place to protect the safety of animal products and human health during production. Additionally, many states have their own laws governing the manufacture, storage, and handling of chemicals and other substances used in food preparation. It is important to understand these laws so that your customers are not surprised when they buy products from your company.
As a business owner, private property means you have rights within the law. Placing a welcome sign at the entrance of your building could outline what you consider acceptable conduct for visitors to your premises, such as:
- We do not accept any abusive or threatening behavior against our staff or customers
- We do not want any recordings of our people or products without our prior explicit permission
- Management has the right to refuse entry to anyone who is not abiding by the store’s code or state/country laws
- You are responsible for any damages caused directly by your actions in or around our property
By displaying a sign, customers creating a scene, or those that become abusive, you can immediately remind them of your business’ accepted code of conduct. Your likes, dislikes, prejudges, etc., should not be included on the sign, as the focus is on behaviors and policies.
It is a given that in today’s society people will turn to social media for feedback about their experience with a business that they are dealing with. This can be positive or not, but regardless of the reaction, the business is still required to adhere to certain ethical guidelines in order to keep its reputation intact. Shooting videos without permission, whether it’s via CCTV or someone actively seeking out footage, is a copyright infringement and can lead to litigation against the individuals involved if it causes damage to the business’s reputation and leads others away from going back.
Start by stating firstly that as a policy you do not allow filming of any of your staff or customers within your property. Remind those filming that you do not allow them to be filmed and ask the person to stop once or twice. However, there are other non-physical options to interrupt recordings:
- Call the police, do not be afraid to involve the police if someone is abusive and displaying threatening behaviour
- Use artwork such as a moire pattern, which is fine and contains repetitive details or block colours such as white or black behind the cashier. It is essential to avoid displaying any signage or branding directly behind the cash registers, which could feature in a recording
- Do not engage; reiterate that the person recording does not have your permission to film you and that they are committing copyright infringement. Follow the statement with; I am happy to help you once you have stopped recording and respect my right not to be filmed
- Create a small cardboard sign. The sign should display a ‘Do not film’ image containing a camera in a red circle with a line through it. When a person begins filming, lift the board over your face
- Place an Led-torch next to your cash register (non-strobe). If someone continually ignores your request to stop recording, instruct them that you will shine the led torch into the camera lens until they stop. The torch must not have a strobe effect as it could trigger someone with epilepsy and should not be shone into customer’s eyes, only phone or camera. Led flashlights interfere with the light of a camera and will make the video or image unusable
- Placing your hands in a cross-like motion to cover your face, repeating that they do not have permission to film you and that they are committing a copyright infringement