You are at the shop floor. A customer walks into your store without a mask. Your staff politely requests the customer to wear his/her mask or offers to provide a new mask, in case they don’t have one. The customer retaliates in a rather rude manner; “Will you not allow me to enter the store if I refuse to wear a mask” – to which the staff reacts, “Ma’am as per government norms, we are supposed to ensure that everybody at the store wears a mask for the safety of both staff and customers.” At this point the issue blows out of proportion, where the customer starts yelling at the staff on how discourteous it is to lecture them on what the norms are, something that they are already aware – as the owner who is witnessing this whole thing, how would you react to this situation:

Jinay Choksi, Kantilal And Brothers, Vadodara

To the customer: If a customer is disobedient and does not follow the rules laid down by the Government, then we have created an undertaking form that they are supposed to fill. The undertaking form basically suggests that the person is unwilling to wear the mask at his or her own risk with their contact details. In the future, if any one my sales staff or customer contracts the infection, the details of this customer who refused to wear a mask would be passed on to the municipality. If the customer is unwilling to sign this form, then we will politely ask them to leave the store. My whole staff is wearing an N95 mask throughout the day and from our end, customer should be safe.

To the staff: I would reassure the staff that he has not done anything wrong. And if a similar situation happens in the future, I would ask him to hand the customer with the undertaking form. I would even appreciate the staff for his politeness and calmness during the situation.

Manish Gupta, Alankar Jewellers, Patna

To the customer: Considering the legal and safety aspects and as per the norms laid down by the district administration, a mask is compulsory and if any customer makes an issue about something so basic, then we will politely ask them to leave the store. We will not entertain such behaviour, especially when the staff is being absolutely polite in the whole situation. We are not asking for anything out of the line. If the customer doesn’t comply, I don’t mind losing such a customer.

To the staff: Normally when such things happen, the customer could be having a bad day. They bring their baggage from elsewhere and spill it over. I will explain this to the staff and ask him to get on with his day and not wallow in the situation. I would tell him that we were in the right side throughout and there is no need to feel bad, and that he should move on.

Pankaj Seth, Durgadas Seth Jewellers, Amritsar

To the customer: In a situation like this, the customer clearly doesn’t want to cooperate even after being repeatedly requested to wear a mask. Then the only option I am left with is to explain to the customer that the life of my staff and team is of utmost importance. I will ask the client to leave my showroom immediately. The life of my team is much more important than any amount of sales I can garner on any given day.

To the staff: I would motivate him and explain to him that customers tend have extreme reactions to even the most normal situation. I would tell him not to get disheartened by it. I would appreciate him for doing his job and give him all the motivation he needs to go on with the day.

Raghava Rastogi, Jeweller Kishore Jewellers, Lucknow

To the customer: We simply refused to admit into the store, any customer who is unwilling to wear a mask, period. We will not be willing to risk the health and safety of our staff and fellow customers for one customer who is refusing to comply. I would try explaining to the customer that it is for his own safety and if he still refuses then I will tell him that he can’t enter my store. Sometimes, their ego tends to get hurt when a person from the staff asks them to wear a mask. In order to handle a situation like that we have a big display right outside our showroom that states, “No Entry without Mask”. We have also instructed the security to request the visitors to wear a mask. The person at the reception area has also been instructed to let the customer know that he or she is supposed to wear a mask. We will not bend our rules for anybody.

To the staff: I would ask the staff to explain the situation to me and the reason for the escalation. If I find out that my staff has been yelled at for no fault of his then the customer will be dealt with a stricter hand.  A lot of the times in such a situation, the customer says that there many other options where they can buy jewellery from, and I would kindly urge them to do so by all means.  

Subhas Kamath, Abharan Jewellers, Udupi

To the customer: We would request the customer to come to a place at the store where there are no customers as such. We would then explain to him that this is an order from the district administration and that he has to follow the rule for everybody’s safety. We would tell them that if anything goes out of hand, the store will be held responsible – so, we would simply request him to wear a mask. In such situations, it is the person’s ego that flairs up, so we would ensure that we first cool him down. We cannot become aggressive in this situation.

To the staff: There will always be a senior manager who will assist the staff in such a situation and talk him through the entire situation.