One of the things that invariably happens as a manager is having to deal with situations where something has gone wrong. Sometimes it’s a process or how a service is delivered. Occasionally it’s someone doing something wrong, or in a way that causes offense, and from time to time it’s a complaint about another customer.
Most of the other incidents are relatively easy to deal with as there will be some form of evidence or witness, and a teaching moment/apology/restitution can happen.
Complaints about other customers by customers are however a lot more difficult to navigate – not least because different people find different things offensive, and I have little control over people who are not obligated to listen to me because they are paid to.
I have to observe or hear behaviours or conversations or volume levels and make snap decisions on how to deal with them – and this can often not be how the person complaining may wish me to react. Either way it all gets logged as an incident in case a pattern emerges that can be used as evidence alongside hearsay.
We’re also trained to de-escalate confrontations and issues like this, so the likelihood of my actually marching up to someone, grabbing their ear and removing them from the premises is vanishingly small. That’s what the police are for, and it reduces the likelihood of people, equipment, or books getting damaged in the process.
So you’ll forgive me venting a little vaguely about something that may have happened this week in a work environment.