If you are like basically every American right now, you are angry, you are worried, and you are OVER IT. Your job is uncertain or non-existent, your kids are in some weird space with school either online, in person or both, you can’t travel anywhere good, you’re worried about your health, and you are so tired of not knowing when this will all just end. So what do we do? We take out our frustrations on others around us. And unfortunately for those who have to deal with large swaths of the public, that usually means A LOT of yelling and snarky remarks.
Now, keep in mind, this blog is not about whether you should wear masks, stay six feet apart, stay home, have giant parties, or basically anything like that. I don’t know about you, but I have zero energy to argue with you right now about any of that. I assume for the most part, everyone is doing the best they can with their own circumstances. However, I truly feel for those responsible for ensuring the public obeys state and city wide mandates. These workers have zero say as to what the rules on masks and distancing are, but they are often left to deal with the angry customers who either don’t want to abide by the rules, or the ones who don’t think they are doing enough.
What are these employees and business owners to do?
We’ve all heard “the customer is always right”, but when the customer is putting your business in danger because they may get you fined or shut down, how do you handle that situation? How do your employees, who may have even less input into how the corporate office has decided to handle these situations, handle it?
My only real advice – be upfront and be funny. Have a policy that requires masks and social distancing? Make sure it is all over your entryway. Give them no room for doubt. But more than that, do so in a humorous way. It is hard for most people to laugh and be angry at the same time. There are lots of collections of funny COVID-19 rule signs on the internet right now. They seem to take two approaches – one is just straight humor. The other is humor mixed in with some anger.
Just go for the humor.
If you own a business, you need those customers right now more than ever. That doesn’t mean they can flaunt the rules the government is requiring or even that you as a private business are choosing to enforce, but it does mean they usually have choices. While you might not understand their reluctance to comply, you likely could use the revenue from their business. Have signs that make your stance clear but also allow your customers to feel welcome and valued. And as I tell my children, if you can’t be funny without being mean, you aren’t very funny. Need help getting that perfect message across in either print, online or broadcast? We have a team waiting to help here at Miller. Let’s all give each other some grace right now. We’ll be back to packing ourselves like sardines and breathing all over each other before we know it.