The Emergency Customer Kit

When we start a business, most of us assume our customer interactions will always be professional. In an ideal world, that wouldn’t be an unreasonable request. And, for the most part, you’ll find it to be true.

But, we don’t live in an ideal world, and putting yourself out there does leave you at some risk. This is especially true when working in retail and other customer-facing roles. You’ll come across a lot of people. They’re not all going to be pleasant, reasonable, or even safe to handle. Which is why any business needs a terrible customer emergency kit. Here’s what yours should include.

Polite responses

If a customer starts shouting, accusing, or showing signs of distress, pull out the polite responses. At this early stage, your aim should be to win over the customer. This is your chance to turn the situation around. If you succeed, you could even gain a loyal customer.


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It’s important to remember that the customer is always right, even when you’re unsure where they’re coming from. Personal opinions aside, the ball is in their court. As such, it should go without saying that you should never disagree or enter an argument. Instead, turn to some standard responses which act to placate the situation. A few options which often work are:

  • Apology

  • Sympathy

  • Agreement

  • Attempts to solve the problem to the customer’s satisfaction

Most people are fairly reasonable, and if you do the above, the chances are you can resolve things. If you sense the situation escalating, it may be worth offering money off, or other bonuses. Even if you don’t agree they’re deserved, this will save a scene which could cost you custom.

Legal protection

It’s rare that a customer sues a company, especially in the small business stakes. But, you can never be too careful. Which is why it might be worth putting legal protection in place before anything happens. On a basic level, this means working with lawyers who can come to your aid if you need them.

But, that’s not all you should consider. From the moment you conceive of your business, think about the best ways to protect yourself. It’s especially important to consider this when deciding on your business type. As a sole trader, a situation like this will fall on your shoulders. Whereas, if you opted for a limited liability company, as outlined on sites like, your company would be responsible. As such, a customer will sue your company, not you. A move like this could save you a lot of money.

Security measures

Most retail workers never encounter a violent customer, but it does happen. And, when it does, you need to ensure your safety and that of your workers. As such, take time to install a reliable security system, with access to a panic button. It’s also worth installing cameras like those found at These will add a level of protection when staff are alone in the shop, and could serve as a deterrent.

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