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French Cafe Charges Extra to Rude Customers

By Flavio Martins | Small Business

A cafe in Nice, France charges rude customers five times more for a cup of coffee than those who say hello and please.

French Cafe Charges Extra to Rude Customers image french rude customer service chargeFrench Cafe Charges Extra to Rude CustomersNo, this is not a headline from the Onion (Wikipedia). A cafe owner in France has finally had enough with rude customers and he’s decided that he’s no longer going to take it. If you’re rude, it’ll set you back. Rude customers will be charged more, call it a rude customer tax.

“A coffee” will set you back €7, according to the sign, while “a coffee please” is a little more affordable, at €4.25.

If you want keep your expenses down, and stay friends with your local barista, however, the best option is “Hello, a coffee please,” which will only cost you €1.40.

Dealing with rude customers is always a challenge for businesses and especially customer service agents on the front line of customer service work. I think that most call center agents have day dreamed of doing these things, today the dreams of abused and overworked call center and customer service reps everywhere have come true.

But the result isn’t what you’d expect. The manager of the cafe explains that although the rude customer tax exists, it’s meant more as a reminder for customers to retain their humanity in their day-to-day interactions. The price increase has never been enforced, but customer civility is up.

“Most of my customers are regulars and they just see the funny side and exaggerate their politeness,” he said, adding “They started calling me ‘your greatness’ when they saw the sign.”

Is it a gimmick? Absolutely. But it’s also a stroke of genius. If you were to ask any member of your customer service team or any call center agent how often they have to deal with rude customers, the answer would be nearly every day, if not every single day.

A small change, something even as simple as a pricing joke, virtually eliminates the need to deal with rude customers. Humor, in this case, defuses those customers who might have otherwise created problems for staff members and serves as a gentle and humorous reminder for the rest of us too that customer service isn’t easy and that we need to put things into perspective.

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