How to Protect Supermarket Workers from Abusive Customers

One of the many pitfalls that supermarket workers might run into is encountering abusive and threatening customers. Not only are these individuals difficult to be around, but they can make an employee’s life miserable in more ways than one.

The following guide seeks to help supermarket employers protect their workers from abusive customers in three easy steps.

Create a Conflict Resolution Strategy

A conflict resolution strategy can assist employees in dealing with complaints that may be harmful or abusive to workers. A conflict resolution strategy is a way of creating a safe and comfortable approach to dissolving any issues or conflicts in the workplace. In this example, a predetermined conflict resolution strategy for your employees on handling unruly customers will help them feel more prepared for any unexpected interactions.

A great way to establish a universal procedure towards abusive customers is to hold staff meetings regularly. Have each of your staff share times that they dealt with a customer who was out of line and how they went about resolving the issue. Then, based on everyone’s answers, work together to come up with a best practice on how to deal with those abusive or unreasonable customers.

Support Employees’ Needs

A supermarket employee may run into the same abusive customer more than once. As their employer, you should find a way to explain to them that you will support them and equip them with the necessary skills to keep verbal abuse of this nature from happening again.
If this employee still doesn’t feel comfortable, then consider implementing these safe workplace measures:

  • Guarantee that only a management-level employee deals with this customer
  • Alternate employees so that the affected employee is less likely to run into the abusive customer
  • Train employees in managing abusive customers
  • Have a concise escalation plan in place for employees who want to refer difficult customers to either a manager or a supervisor
  • Inform customers about their responsibility to behave appropriately

Supermarket owners can implement an ‘open door policy’. This is where doors are always open to employees, encouraging staff to discuss any issues they are experiencing. This will make the employee trust you and help improve the communication levels in the business. It will also make the staff members feel safer in the workplace.

Protect Employees’ Safety

Considering how abuse of this nature can affect a staff member’s physical and mental health, supermarket employers should protect their employees from any sort of violence, bullying, or harassment that comes their way.

No matter if the situation is in person or on social media, employers should use whatever means are at their disposal to protect employees from open abuse, even if these means are as simple as more customer service training.

Scroll to Top