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How to Handle Customers who don't want to
Wear a Mask

Published on: November 10, 2020 by Canity

These are the two biggest issues in customer service right now.

It's a safety issue, it's a political issue and it's a big concern to the community, customers, and staff.

1) How to encourage customers to wear masks
2) What to do when customers refuse to wear masks

COVID-19 has had a major impact on the way businesses operate, particularly for those who communicate with their customers face to face.

So how do you ensure the health & safety of your staff & customers, while maintaining a positive relationship with your customers?

The first step is to cover every possible aspect of encouraging your customers to wear a mask.

The first step is to

cover every possible aspect

of encouraging your customers to wear a mask

1 Implement a clear mask policy for both employees and customers.

2 Make sure all employees understand both policies.

3 Put up signs outside and inside your business that make it very clear that masks must be worn inside your premises.

4 If you have exceptions i.e. for small children or for those who are already sitting away from other patrons (such as at a restaurant), make these exceptions clear as day.

5 Keep your signs friendly, engaging and simple. Pictures always help!

6 Post these policies to your social media and regularly post updates thanking your customers for wearing a mask.

7 Provide free face masks to people who don’t have one. Make these clearly available at the entrance.

8 Assign a team member to monitor the entrance, and have them explain the policy in a friendly manner. Ensure they show customers where your free masks are available, and thank customers for complying.

But what about when a customer refuses to

wear a mask?

There are many reasons why people may refuse to wear a mask.

The first step is to avoid jumping to conclusions.

The person may have a completely valid, medical reason to not wear a mask, including extreme sensitivity, difficulty due to a disability, post-traumatic stress disorder, claustrophobia, extreme anxiety, or other medical issues.

Develop a policy around what to do when a customer legitimately cannot wear a mask.

How will you help them conduct business with you in a way that’s safe for them and your workers? Focus on a strict policy for this, and ensure your team are all updated with the policy, and fully understand it. It’s best not to wait – address it up front clearly and make sure everyone knows what to do.

Wearing a mask is a fairly new experience for many people.

It can be disconnecting not to see people’s smiles, and masks can sometimes be uncomfortable and tricky to purchase. This has led to many people making their own masks. Does your business one have a policy around what types of masks customers can wear? This is something to consider early, and address in your policy and make sure all employees are trained on this.

Here are some

tips for handling customers

who refuse to wear a mask:

1Greet your customers outside the entrance in a polite and friendly manner.

Thank them for coming to your business, and let them know that you’re ensuring everyone is aware of your mask policy: that anyone who enters your premises is required to wear one, and you have free masks available for them if they don’t have their own.

This greeting is best outside your business, rather than inside, so the customer has a choice to enter or not, rather than being forced to leave. It’s also vital that you remain friendly and polite. Yes, it’s frustrating having to tell people to wear masks, and some people may become upset by this, but it’s vital you don’t become emotional or anticipate an argument. If you are aggressive and defensive, your customer will quickly become so as well.

2Avoid debating with your customer and stick to facts.

Ensure the customer is aware of your policy, and respectfully remind them that it’s a requirement for store entry.

3Say your customer is still refusing to wear a mask:

Now you can refuse the customer entry. Make sure you apply the same policy to every customer, including how to handle people who have legitimate reasons to not to wear a mask. You have a right to refuse entry to your business and your customer has a right to choose not to do business with you.

4Give your customers options.

People love options, and they’re often more accepting if they feel more in control of the outcome. Make it clear to those people who don’t wish to wear a mask what other options they have.

5Support each other.

It’s very stressful for everyone when a customer becomes upset. And when it’s a customer refusing to wear a mask, it can become even more stressful, so make sure all employees have each other’s back. Train your team in how to support each other in these situations. If possible, have more than one team member at the entrance so your team feels more supported. This also helps to avoid situations escalating, as customers may feel less confident being aggressive with more than one person.

6If a customer threatens to sue you, remain calm, and do not get into an argument.

If things escalate don’t be afraid to call security or the police. Never place yourself or your team in danger. Keep your distance from the upset customer, and encourage other employees and customers to keep their distance too.

7Don’t be scared to fire a customer.

Some customers are worth keeping, but those who put the safety of your team at risk are not. Remember it’s fine to lose a customer over this.

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