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Dealing with customers: Management and staff behaviour

How you and your staff behave towards customers can help to reduce the risk of abusive and violent behaviour.

Management behaviour

Staff behaviour

Age-restricted sales

If staff have to refuse to sell a customer alcohol or goods because they are underage, this could lead to verbal abuse or violence. To minimise the risk:

If juvenile crime is a particular problem for you:


Staff who deal with customers should be vigilant for suspicious body language/behaviour. Examples of suspicious behaviour include:

Make suspects aware if you have noticed their suspicious behaviour.  Make them aware you have noticed them by making yourself busy near them, ask questions such as 'Can I help?' or talk on the phone or to other staff and letting them see you do it. This lets them know you have noticed them.

In some cases, you could refuse entry; politely ask them to leave or escort known offenders away if found in the shop. This can be safer than detaining them as they may become violent, but it can also be difficult if it escalates violence. It needs to be done with care.

Customer service techniques

Good customer service helps to reduce the risk of violence and discourage shoplifting.

Updated 2020-08-03