Dominique Lamb Message spend

‘The customer is always right’ is probably the most quoted adage in retail, no matter what type of store it is you operate.

Friendly service, quality products and value for money are just a few of the things that all customers rightly expect when they shop at a retail outlet. And no doubt, all of you are constantly drumming into all your staff on the need to obtain and maintain the very highest standards when it comes to customer service.

However, in the same way that shoppers rightly expect quality service, that does not give them the right to verbally or physically abuse you or any of your staff. I’m not talking about a disgruntled customer muttering under the breath after having to wait too long in a queue, we’re talking instances of abuse ranging from threats of violence through to physical and sexual assault.

For this reason, I was pleased to join the SDA in Sydney yesterday to co-launch an industry-wide statement to eradicate customer abuse in all Australian shops.

Retailers across Australia simply can’t succeed with hardworking and dedicated staff members. I’m sure that you all share with me in the need to ensure that those employed across the retail sector operate in a safe environment, with a culture of mutual respect between employee and customer.

Customer abuse is particularly prevalent when staff perform basic anti-theft tasks such as bag checks, confronting a shoplifter or refusing a refund when the goods have been stolen. According to our research, 85 per cent of retailers nationwide have been verbally abused when conducting these tasks and 41 per cent have suffered physical assault.

It’s also greatly concerning that 78 per cent of retailers who the NRA has surveyed across Australia believe that abuse towards workers is increasing. As an industry, we simply can’t afford to merely accept this growing trend.

Employers have an important role to play in providing workplaces that see their workers treated with basic dignity and the NRA is committed to doing its part in achieving this.

All the best for the week ahead!