Dealing With Customer Difficulties

The National Retail Association, along with the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association (SDA), Australian Retail Association (ARA) and other undersigned organisations, have released a Retail and Fast Food Industry Statement on witnessed increases in abusive and violent customer behaviour.

In the last year, more than 85% of retail staff have experienced verbal abuse from a customer, 15% have experienced physical customer violence, and 11% sexual harassment or abuse, as reported by the SDA.

Through our Safe Retail Precincts and SafeCity Network programs, the NRA has also witnessed increased reports of abusive and aggressive behaviour towards retailers not only from customers, but also from shoplifters and criminals.

The Industry Statement outlines our collective commitment to forging a retail and fast food industry free from abuse and violence, to help create vibrant, healthy and safe workplaces for workers and customers across Australia now, and into the future.

Three key commitments are outlined:

  1. We support the eradication of customer disrespect, abuse and violence from our workplaces.
  2. We commit to positively and publicly promoting and supporting a culture of respect and dignity for retail and fast food workers in and around workplaces.
  3. We encourage and facilitate the reporting of all forms of customer perpetrated abuse and violence towards workers, including sexual harassment and assault.

View the full statement here –  Retail and Fast Food Industry Statement

Assistance for retailers

The National Retail Association encourages all retailers to foster a ‘no tolerance’ approach to aggressive behaviour, and to consider the point at which a customer is no longer right.

We also encourage retailers to report every incidence of retail crime and related abuse. Retail crime is highly under-reported which perpetuates the lack of dedicated law enforcement resources.

The National Retail Association is currently developing specific tools and training to help retailers deal with aggressive behaviour during an incident and managing the recovery process for staff wellbeing.

Read more about the Safe Retail Precincts project and explore relevant resources here.