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July 2023 Presentation: Facing a rise in customer aggression Featured

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Presentation & Full Event Video Now Available
CSG Event: July 2023
Speaker: Amy Lynes, Senior Workplace Relations Consultant, National Retail Association
Check out the latest presentation from our July 2023 event, along with the full event video, now available to members.

Facing a rise in customer aggression

It is always such a pleasure to have a speaker who is so knowledgeable about their topic and, therefore, so engaging. Such was the case with Amy Lynes' presentation to us. Not that it was a pleasant topic to speak about -some of the statistics and scenarios Amy shared with us were quite shocking.

Amy is a member of the legal practice that sits within the National Retail Association (NRA) and their data shows that customer aggression was already a big issue before Covid and has increased since. I'm sure many of us are aware of how this has led to an exodus of staff from many businesses. Retailers of all sizes are turning to the NRA for guidance, and there has been sky-rocketing demand for their courses that deal with this issue as well as others, such as sexual harrassment. It is interesting to note, however, that there is only so much a staff member can do when the root cause is the badly-behaved customer.

Amy and her colleagues work actively to raise awareness in various capacities, such as making submissions to draft bills and developing campaigns -e.g. the "No-one deserves a serve" campaign with the union (Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association). She noted, however, that laws are made, but the issue becomes whether those laws are used.

Amy talked about innovative approaches by some retailers and how they need to be tailored to particular circumstances. For instance, depending on the type of brand as well as the location. In the case of the latter, the approach for a street-front store is different from one in a shopping mall.

One striking take-home message for me was that, for young workers in fast food and retail, it is often their first job. They may not know what is acceptable or unacceptable and, therefore, what should be reported, especially when it comes to sexual harassment. Not to mention that they are unlikely to be equipped with the skillls to deal with difficult situations. Something all of us should be aware of when we are customers.

That is why it's important to have organisations like NRA available as a resource for employers and employees alike. As Amy said, it is so helpful to learn from others. That is the CSG ethos as well of course!

Financial members may be interested to revisit our March 2020 presentation Dealing with customer abuse (log in first). Kenn Rogers spoke about how the Reject Shop deals with customer abuse of their young workforce.

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Read 274 times Last modified on Sunday, 01 October 2023 06:02
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