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Tough Customers

Don't let "service with a smile" leave your employees with frowns.

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This story appears in the May 2001 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Robert Girau had had about enough. A corporate manager for -based fast-food chain Wing Zone, he'd just spent 30 minutes on the phone with an irate customer who hadn't received her order. "She said I was a liar," Girau says. She also threatened him. But as an employee, Girau knew he had to keep his cool and try to solve the problem. "It was frustrating," he says. "No matter what the customer is saying, you [have to] try not to take it personally."

A lot of employees find themselves in Girau's shoes. After all, every company has customers who can be overly demanding, angry, even abusive. But, as the goes, the customer is always right. For employees on the receiving end of a customer interaction gone wrong, there's incredible pressure to simply grin and bear it. Service with a is always good business.

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