Customer services

How to Get Rid of Pesky Customers That Are Wasting Your Time

carsalesThey say the first rule of business is that the customer is always right. But anyone who has ever worked in retail can tell you that a lot of the time, not only is the customer not right, they are downright annoying. Who hasn't been irritated by that one person who won't leave you alone, but won't buy anything, either? You can spot them from a mile away - they never planned on buying when they entered your establishment, but they waste your time with questions or even worse - demands - anyway. How do you get rid of them? Can you get rid of these pesky customers? Let's see what we can do about it.

Don't be too nice

Sure, your job description says that you should be nice and polite to your customers - but that's when you are trying to retain them, not actively drive them away. You're not allowed to be outright rude to them, either, because that's just bad for business. You don't want them never to return in their lives, or badmouth the company to other people. What you are aiming is to just get them to go away for now and stop wasting your time.

So, the secret here is to remain pleasant, but not overly nice. Don't be super inviting and don't overindulge them. Whereas you would give recommendations to other people or spend time addressing their inquiries or issues, refrain from extending this interaction for more than it needs to. You've answered their question? Good, now move on to something else and do your best to indicate that this conversation is over.

Keep it short

Again, you have to go against your training for this one, because you would typically be instructed to take your sweet time with a customer, if they are looking to buy. But seeing how this particular customer is not going to drop a single dime, you have to be efficient and figure out how to get rid of them - every second wasted is money lost from another potential sale made by a different customer. Thus, don't drag it out too long. Keep it short and snappy; limit your answers to what is strictly essential and forgo the extras and the pleasantries. Go directly to the point and make sure you don't open any other topic of conversation that can be taken advantage of to waste your time.

Help other customers

Don't neglect your other customers. And if they're not asking for your attention, volunteer it to as many as possible! It's important for the message you are sending out to the pesky customer to be clear: you have other customers who need to be attended. In theory, all you would need to do is inform the said pesky customer that your other clients need your help, but they might not respond to that. In that case, you have to actively seek out another customer and offer your services.

Look around you - is that a person in the other corner of the store that you see with the corner of your eye? Great! Go get them. At the risk of being that person we all hate, who butts in and doesn't let you shop, offer them your time. Is there anything you can help them with? Anything you can show them? Some information you might need to look up or maybe they need you to go way in the back and look for something in the store room? Even if they don't need you, your time-sucker customer doesn't need to know that, so you can totally pretend to look for something in the back, in order to get rid of them. If they haven't left by now, they'll harass some other employee or - even better - they'll take the hint, and they'll leave.

Make yourself busy

The easiest way to get rid of a customer without being rude is to be busy with something else. The more tasks waiting for you in line, the better. Whether it's arranging some merchandise on the shelf, cleaning up, going behind the cash register, making a phone call, informing another client, or running around the store, looking for something to do, as long as you look busy, they won't be able to butt in and steal your time. And if they try to, explain, as politely as possible, that you have already helped them with everything you can and then excuse yourself.

Even if you hate cash register duty, now is the time to do it. Alternatively, offer to help one of your fellow colleagues. They will know and understand the situation and go along with it, giving you something to do, so you can "help" them, thus rendering you unable to spend time with the customer. The best part about this approach - together with the previous one about attending another customer - is that you cannot be reprimanded for it. There is nothing they can do against you, because you cannot be penalized for helping another customer or doing something else; that is your job.

All in all, getting rid of these types of customers who will not take "no" for an answer is not easy, by any means. While they are not planning to purchase anything, you can't just dismiss them or be rude to them, because that goes against company policy and is bad for business. However, allowing them to waste your time means a potential lost sale, which is also bad for business. So, what is the strategy, here?

The secret is to dismiss them in a nice way. Be polite, but firm, and always have a reason for ending the conversation. If you flat-out end the interaction and then go and sit around doing nothing, the customer will more than likely get upset and complain to your higher-ups. Instead, make yourself busy, volunteer to assist another customer or help out a colleague. And don't forget to smile.

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