Just say NO to Customer Abuse and Violence
By Chris Gazenbeek, SDA State Secretary
In the Christmas 2019 edition of the SDA News, I asked the question, “What should retail and fast food employers do to help address abusive and violent behaviour from customers”? I then outlined some practical measures which retail and fast food employers should adopt in their shops and outlets.
These practical measures included:
- maintaining adequate staffing levels;
- providing clear signage for customers which included expected standards of behaviour;
- increased training for staff on how to mange customer behaviour before it escalates; and
- adopting a zero tolerance of customer abuse and violence.
Because our members are victims of customer abuse, we invited them to come up with a series of words that they would like to be placed at the entrances of their workplaces. We were inundated with suggestions from our members. There is no doubt that SDA members have had enough. They clearly want to come to work, do their job and go home without being abused by customers or being subjected to violence. They are fed up and want their employers to take the issue seriously and do everything possible to eradicate customer abuse and violence in their establishments.
Educating the public
Throughout December and January, the SDA teamed up with WorkCover Queensland to put signage up throughout shopping centres in high risk areas in Queensland.
These signs featured the SDA’s highly successful ‘No One Deserves A Serve’ campaign.
This signage was posted at Australia Fair, Hinkler Central, Robina Town Centre, Springfield Shopping Centre, City Plaza and Centre Plaza Rockhampton, DFO Brisbane, Forest Lake Shopping Centre, Logan City Centre, Lutwyche Centre, Southport Park, Surfers Paradise Centre, Morayfield Shopping Centre, Riverlink Shopping Centre, Kippa-Ring Shopping Centre, Westfield Chermside, Garden City and Helensvale.
This signage was welcomed by our members in those centres and on social media and will continue to feature in our total campaign.
The No One Deserves a Serve ads were also shown during the Australian Tennis Open to raise awareness of the campaign, and let us assure you, the pun was intentional.
It is also important to remind ourselves that this campaign is a long term campaign.
For too long, the retail adage was that ‘the customer was always right’.
As we know, the customer is often wrong.
In the meantime, it is important to report abusive and violent customer behaviour to store management. Very simply, don’t ignore it – report it.
Woolworths and Target
It is pleasing to report that Woolworths and Target have commenced a rollout of signage at the entrances of their stores. Please go to page 6 for a full report on this important development.