December 4, 2019 Competitions Competitions News

For your chance to win 1 of 4 double passes to see Cirque Du Soleil, tell us in 20 words or less what you would like to see on a sign at your workplace about customer abuse.

Since 2017, the SDA’s “No One Deserve A Serve” campaign has raised awareness amongst our members and the general public about this important issue.

We have made important progress to bring employers and industry groups together and to call out customers who do the wrong thing.

Unfortunately, abuse and violence from customers still occurs regularly and this abuse and violence makes our workplaces unsafe. Just last week, I received a horrendous call from a member whose life was threatened from an unhinged customer. During the verbal attack, she was abused so severely, she suffered a panic attack. An ambulance was called and she has now claimed workers’ compensation. It must be said that the store management tried to do the right thing but the customer was drug-affected and needed professional help.

The tragedy of this particular case is that there are no winners. The member has experienced severe trauma and will be taking paid time off work under workers’ compensation. Also, her workplace colleagues and store management have been negatively affected.

Zero tolerance approach
We’re calling upon employers to take a zero tolerance approach to abusive and violent behaviour and to support their employees.

For the last few months, we’ve been asking employers to commit to:

  • Support the eradication of customer disrespect, abuse and violence;
  • Positively and publicly promote and support respect and dignity for retail and fast food workers;
  • Encourage and facilitate reporting of customer perpetrated abuse and violence, including sexual harassment.

Some of the companies who have signed up to the campaign include the Coles Group, the Woolworths Group, The Reject Shop, KFC, Bunnings, Myer, Aldi, Best & Less, David Jones, Kmart, Hungry Jacks and Target.
Words are good but actions are better.

We need to ask the question, “What should employers do to help address abusive and violent behavior from customers”?

Let’s look at some practical suggestions:

  • Staffing: the importance of maintaining adequate staffing levels including access to customer service when needed;
  • Signage: provide clear signage for customers which may also include standards of behaviour;
  • Training: train workers on how to manage customer behavior before it escalates. Secondly, provide additional training for supervisors and line managers on how to safely intervene when required;
  • Zero Tolerance: make clear that customer abuse and violence is not tolerated in retail and fast food workplaces. If customers perpetrate this behavior, there should be repercussions. Appropriate actions may include customers being warned and customers being banned from stores and/or shopping centres.

Don’t ignore it – Report it

No one should have to go to work only to have to put up with abuse. You have the right to work in a safe environment. Reporting abusive and violent customer behaviour is one of the best ways for members to stay safe.

If you’re unsure what to do if a customer is abusive or violent, call your supervisor or manager to help.
If you need further assistance, please phone or email the SDA office.

WIN: Your chance to get involved

Signage is a very effective method of engaging the community, and a simple sign can be a very effective deterrent against customer abuse.

For your chance to win 1 of 4 double passes to see Cirque Du Soleil, tell us in 20 words or less what you would like to see on a sign at your workplace about customer abuse.

We suggest that your words should be polite yet firm. Once we receive your suggestions, we can present them at the roundtable discussions we are having with national retailers and fast food companies.

  • Member Number
  • Workplace
  • Workplace Location

Entries will be judged on merit and published in the SDA News.