Customers regularly mistreat retail workers. What can be done?

Article by Martyn Jones | 19th August 2020

Over the past four months, public appreciation for key workers has changed. Retail workers have been celebrated – the public clapped for key workers every week to say thank you. Was this overdue? 

This is undoubtedly a shift in how grateful customers are for what retail workers do. Workers in this sector have been mistreated by customers for too long, according to our latest data.

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Are customers making the lives of retail workers harder?

Arguably, yes. Our data revealed that, from a plethora of different challenges, 32% of retail workers felt protecting colleagues from customer abuse was the biggest daily concern. Abuse has a significant impact on job satisfaction, job retention and customer experience too. 

These findings reveal how workers genuinely feel about the environment they work in. One in five are concerned about receiving abuse at work. One in four perceive demanding customers as the biggest worry they have about their job.

Tackling the problem

Retail workers need more support. Employers cannot change customer behaviour, but you can equip your teams with the technology they need to communicate and collaborate safely. Retail workers urgently need more support in dealing with worried customers. 

We know that working in retail during the past few months has been extremely challenging. Retail workers have faced security issues, health and safety risks and changing government regulation. But one of the most saddening trends is that nearly half have experienced verbal abuse during the pandemic. Almost a third even experienced physical abuse. 

What can be done? For retail employers, team managers and members of retail leadership, now is the time to show your colleagues the value they have

We know that team communication improves productivity, reduces wasted time travelled and brings colleagues closer together. It improves morale, enhances security and helps train inexperienced colleagues. All told, we believe the VoCoVo communication system can provide an essential stopgap in reducing abuse in the retail environment and empowering colleagues to enjoy their roles.

Get in touch today to find out more about how we can help empower your teams

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