As a small business owner one must constantly tell the customer they are right, and tell them that they are number one. And yet at the same time they must reinforce their loyalty to their own team and employees. This is often a hard line to straddle, but it is very necessary in running a business.
Often the customer really isn’t right, but the business owner knows that they have to do a little bit of diplomacy in order to keep the customer coming back and spending money. Sometimes the manager will semi-scold the employee in front of the customer to make the customer feel good, and then later on tell the employee behind closed doors that they were sorry and to just deal with it when belligerent customers explode with a complaint.
It’s not easy trying to please everyone but during a recession is very important. You cannot afford to lose your best employees and you sure as heck cannot to lose any customers! Of course, there is an employment law aspect to all this and you must be very careful not to fire an employee who treats the customer incorrectly on the spot.
Rather what you need to do is step into the argumentative conversation between a customer and employee and takeover, and send the employee over to do some other task in the store while you talk to the customer and apologize. Then you must pull this worker aside and tell the employee that, that was unacceptable, and warn them if it happens again they will be fired.
If it does happen again, you should not fire the employee on the spot rather, you should help the customer once again. Step in to defuse the situation and then tell the employee, you’d like to see them in your office. Then explain very nicely to the employee;
“I’m sorry that things haven’t worked out around here and I remember telling you before that I would have to let you go if you blew up with another customer. And since you did and you know the rules around here; I’m sorry but I’m going to have to let you go.”
That’s the proper way to do it to prevent a lawsuit. Please consider all this and make sure you document everything before you fire someone, and then afterwards in case it does end up in court.