Is the customer (guest, client, patient) always right?
Most people have heard, or perhaps even indignantly said themselves, “The customer is always right!” But is that really the case? Is the customer, guest, client, patient – whoever it may be – granted the right to treat professionals with disrespect under the cover of this belief? In a word – no. Those who work with the public sometimes find themselves dealing with irritated clientele who see them as a punching bag to use as needed. How can a professional deal with this without having a breakdown?
1. Take a deep breath and say a silent prayer. Something like, “Lord, give me the grace I need.” This gives you the chance to gather yourself and realize this person’s actions are not about you. Taking a moment to align yourself with the Holy Spirit will steer you away from reacting in a defensive manner.
2. Lead with kindness and understanding. Try to see the actual issue and not only what’s right in front of you. When someone is worked up and blaming you, there is usually a bigger, underlying issue that is troubling them. Once you determine if that is the case, help them identify it and move forward with a solution. In some cases, especially in health care professions, there is no solution, so an offered listening ear is really what is needed.
3. Don’t be afraid to excuse yourself and walk away. If the situation is escalating or the person is becoming verbally aggressive, tell the individual you need to step out and you will be back shortly.
Both inside and outside of work, it is crucial for you to cover your vocation in prayer. Ask the Holy Spirit to breathe wisdom into your words and peace into your demeanor so you can use that to emulate Jesus. Remember, we may be the only opportunity someone has to experience the love of Christ.