As a college kid/waitress, I had a favorite cook who dropped gifts into the food of abusive customers (particularly when he had a cold). Later, as a young lawyer, I had to fight apathy when working for abusive clients. Apparently, I am not alone. Researchers are backing up my experience. Workers abused by employees either abdicate their duties or retaliate.
Retaliation is rarely a problem – the customer usually doesn’t figure it out. But, apathy spreads. Customer service creates customer loyalty and positive public reviews. An apathetic employee is a customer experience killer. We also know from other research that engaged employees increase profits substantially. So, you can do great things for your business by showing your employees some appreciation by shutting down the occasional abusive customer. I’m not suggesting you become a vigilante, kicking out customers and asking questions later. But, taking the side of your employee against an obviously nasty customer will go a long way towards encouraging loyalty and effort. Loyalty and effort translate to the bottom line.