How would you deal with this difficult customer?

I work in a rock climbing gym; most of our patrons are either belay (the method of preventing a fall with the rope and other tools) certified or just boulder (climb without ropes, only to lower heights) but for those who wish to, staff will belay climbers for $2/climb. Usually this is only used by new climbers who just want to try it out, guests or children, but occasionally someone will come in intending to make multiple climbs, paying for each one. The customer in question here is one of those. He'll frequently come it and pay for 2 or three climbs (we charge up front, no tabs or such) than after his 2 or 3, while both climber and staff are still connected to the rope ask "I'll pay before I leave, but can I just X more" typically if someone does ask this, we'll let them; cash is our rarest form of payment, we're part of a University rec center, so students have on-campus charge cards connected to their school IDs and either use those or credit/debit, so we almost always have their school contact info or a card number we can charge if they did leave w/o paying. The issue with this guy is he's a repeat offender, so to speak. Sometimes people will come in for the first time and ask if they can pay later for extra climbs, but he seems to do it every time he comes in. Last time, one of the people working was a new employee we're training and he tried a really daring con- we call the service a "Try-climb" as in, you pay us to belay you so you can try it out and then if you like it you take the class to learn to belay and climb w/o us; he paid for 2 "try climbs" and after 2, said to the new employee "lets do this one [indicates different route] next" when the employee told him he only paid for 2, he said "oh I though it was tri-climb", trying to make it seem like he thought he had paid for 2 sets of 3.

In the end he always settles his debt, and purely in terms of money spent per visit to the wall, he's probably our best customer, its just a hassle for staff to have to deal with him. How would you suggest confronting him about his behavior. Should a wall staff just say to him, you always come in and do this, we really prefer climbers pay before any belay serviced are rendered. Or might it be to the point where we might tell our manager about him (I imagine someone might have mentioned it before, this has probably gone on since before I was hired) and maybe he'll get an email from someone higher up reminding him of our policies

13 months ago - 2 answers

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It sounds to me as though he is boastfully coveting the obvious realization of a huge
error in yr promotional mix. What he is saying is that the related policy clause and or verbal expression of yr product/service with its price plan is unclear. Yes, he may be winding u up or being pedantic but the point is his claim has an element of truth to it. You could misinterpret the "very creative" way in which u have expressed the service and price plan for this product, by law, a customer os not obliged to pay a different price to the marked up/ or relative price for a product or service. So if a product could potentially by proportion works out to be 5 pounds instead of 10 pounds, as the company purposed it to be, then the customer is only obliged to pay 5 pounds!!! But until u seriously consider how yr advertising material and staff inform customers of yr products and services and price plans, then yr company is partly to blame for any confusion caused. You may even be losing customers, not increasing loyalty in customers and affecting yr profits, by not re-analysing yr marketing strategy or in particular yr promotional mix and by law you may even be liable to pay the customer the difference between what he believes the price to be and what yr company have actually set the price as being, along with compensation. Perhaps u should consider taking that particular product/services advertising material down and retraining yr staff re: clearly expressing verbally the service and price plan available to customer's when they ask them.

P.s he is not the only one who has a problem because I can quite clearly see why he would believe that he is paying too much for this service, based on what you have told me anyway and without even seeing the policy/ promotion. That is a sweeping statement u make when u say that he is the only one who is having difficulty understanding the pricing of this service and you and yr exusting customers are not a representative enough sample of why he is wrong and you are right. Its highly likely that many legal professionals who read this would also support the mans claim and not yr company's, based on the info u have provided in yr question. Also, he still pays at the end whether he is right or wrong. Yr company have not honored out of good will the reduced price which is not just fabricated. Hope this helps...


13 months ago

Other Answers

I would ask your manager for clarification in this issue. As a manager dealing with the public for over ten years now, I always tell all of my staff when in doubt, ask a manager! THAT'S WHAT WE GET PAID TO DO! MANAGE! You only get paid to handle issues in your pay grade and if you're doing more than what is listed in your job description.ask for a promotion and/or raise . If this patron is a regular you might end up losing your job if handled incorrectly. If your manager still doesn't resolve the issue for you, you need to go to upper management above that manager and find a solution that way. Three rules in life have always kept me successful on a job when issues arise with guests:

1) ALWAYS keep the guests' needs above you're own. They are the only reason why you're getting paid.

2) ALWAYS follow chain of command. When you step over your boss without informing them first, it can always come back to bite you in the end.

3) ALWAYS remember your passion. If the job is just a in the moment job , treat it as such. Only show your passion over an issue if you're really passionate about your job you're having an issue with.

Hope this helps and best of luck!

by Bradley - 13 months ago