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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 forAtlanta-based fast-food chain Wing Zone, he'd just spent 30minutes on the phone with an irate customer who hadn't receivedher order. "She said I was a liar," Girau says. She alsothreatened him. But as an employee, Girau knew he had to keep hiscool 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. Afterall, every company has customers who can be overly demanding,angry, even abusive. But, as the goes, the customeris always right. For employees on the receiving end of a customerinteraction gone wrong, there's incredible pressure to simplygrin and bear it. Service with a is always good business.

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