Woman’s Racist, Profane Rant Demonstrates Two New Realities About Customer Service

Two points to make from the very start when it comes to this post:

  1. The video that I’m providing a link for at the end of the story is NSFW — NOT SAFE FOR WORK — and contains both profanity and racist terminology.  PLEASE, do NOT play this video where others in the workplace or kids at home may hear. (It’s why I have only put a link here, as opposed to embedding the video in the post.) I abhor the language she uses toward an employee — and the vile nature of her comments.  I’m only posting a link for those who may want to watch the proof of what I’m writing about here…and because it drives home these two important points.
  2. My next time in Fort Lauderdale, I want to go to Dunkin’ Donuts and be waited on by Abid Adar, the 18-year-old who performs so remarkably to the verbal assault of this customer.

Here’s the story:  Taylor Chapman, 27, and her friends placed an order at the Dunkin’ Donuts drive-thru window this past Friday night.  Evidently, the worker who waited on her, named Nithi, was allegedly a bit slow to provide a receipt as Chapman’s group were receiving their orders — and, according to reports, Chapman immediately started demanding that her order should be comped, because of the store policy stating that you didn’t have to pay if you didn’t receive a receipt.  Nithi said she would have to check with her manager — and, reportedly, Chapman at that point angrily left the drive-thru window.

The next morning, Ms. Chapman storms into the store — announcing that she is recording the entire episode on her iPhone — demanding a free order.

You will probably be shocked beyond description if you choose to watch this.  As the website, The Smoking Gun, describes it: “Over eight minutes, the boorish, arrogant, and cursing Chapman records herself berating workers and even accosting fellow customers. Before ending her recording, Chapman tells another customer that her video was heading for YouTube, where she hoped it would “get a million f***ing hits.”

(Another brilliant example of…”be careful what you wish for…”)

In all seriousness, here are two critical points we should ALL remember — new realities about customer service:

First — and, I mention this now in just about every speech — because of YouTube and social media of all types, customers now have a platform to share their feelings about their experiences with your business beyond the scope of anything we’ve ever encountered.

  • The challenge is — as this video clearly demonstrates — some customers are going to abuse their newfound power.

This woman obviously…and, totally illogically…believes that because her rant is going to be posted on her Facebook page and YouTube that the public will rally around her and all hell will break loose on the Dunkin’ Donuts store and the employees.

And all of this…simply because she didn’t get her receipt quickly enough.  Good grief.

  • Every person on your team MUST be aware of this — and be prepared to deal with a wacky customer.

The best way to prevent this ridiculous situation from happening — is to do it right, every time. But, let’s face it, we’re all human…and none of us is perfect.  Make sure you’ve educated your colleagues and prepared yourself.

Second — while young Adar does an extraordinary job trying to make things right…NO employee should be expected to be required to put up with this type of verbal abuse.

  • Having a commitment to customer service does NOT mean that you or your colleagues have to acquiesce to racist, profane, ridiculous rants.

Sure, there may be times you’ll have to deal with emotional, upset people…and you have to know how to diffuse — and not escalate — the situation.

I realize it’s a fine line — just as a customer like this one can be out of bounds with her behavior, some employees will take advantage of the situation with an upset customer, and proclaim they don’t have to deal with intensely expressed, but well founded, complaints.

The key for you and your business is to be very clear about where the line is — and, work with the right kind of people who will handle the situation…like this polite, college-bound “18-year-old who just graduated from a Florida high school and earns around $8 an hour.”

NO customer that you or I would want to do business with could watch this and think anything other than the employee did an exemplary job…and the customer is so far out of line, it’s indescribable.

Are you…and your team…prepared for these two new realities of customer service?

(UPDATE: I’ve received a couple emails about the link not working — and, others have said it works fine.  You may want to cut and paste this into your browser if you’re having trouble: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=juLHmG76P4Q&feature=youtu.be )

UPDATE TWO: This good news just reported by “The Daily Beast” —

Sometimes $8 an hour is just not enough. Proof: the Florida Dunkin’ Donuts employee who was harassed on a video that went viral this week. Taylor Chapman, 27, berated the minimum-wage workers and demanded free food after, she claims, a worker failed to give her a receipt. Along with Arab-phobic slurs and other unfocused insults, the young videographer threatened “to nuke your whole planet from Mars.” DD plans to recognize the employees who handled her racist tirade with “grace and patience,” according to a tweet from the company. Dunkin’ hasn’t said how it plans to reward the employees, but let’s hope they get more than a free box of Munchkins for this one.