Companies with abusive or intimidating behavior

Indeed, more than 70 percent of the time, employees’ feelings about dealing with rude customers were linked to how their firm responded: Did their manager step in to help, offer support, or give them a well-deserved break after the ordeal?

Or was the employee expected to simply deal with it, or even somehow blamed for the incident, a mind-set widely perceived as inherently unfair?

Specifically, the authors analyzed whether employees received social support from their managers, participated in decision making, felt empowered to solve problems, or were rewarded for dealing with bad-mannered customers.

Contrary to the authors’ expectations, one of these factors—giving employees a bigger say in corporate policy—had absolutely no placating effects.

This type of customer dysfunction goes far beyond reasonable complaints, a negative review on Yelp, or justifiable criticisms of a company’s actions.When these emotions fester for too long, the employees decide to leave.The authors also suggest that companies actively alert customers that they will not tolerate abuse—whether through signage, advertising, legal deterrents, or Internet postings.This recompense can be relatively informal (such as a public acknowledgment, a more challenging assignment, or a small promotion) or tangible (such as better pay or job prospects).Managers should try to ensure that “employees are rewarded in direct proportion to the level of stress caused by interactions with dysfunctional customers,” the authors advise.

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