How Sonder provides support to frontline workers facing customer hostility

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Customer aggression is an increasing problem. According to our survey of 2,007 Australian and New Zealand employees, more frontline workers are being affected by customer aggression, more frequently.

Sonder provides support during and after incidents of customer aggression with 24/7 access to preventative tools and an on-the-ground response team. This unique combination of proactive digital services and responsive human support reduces harm, drives early intervention and restores the health and safety of employees quickly.

In this blog, we'll take a look at the specific features businesses like Universal Store and TFE Hotels use to keep their employees safe.

Support during an incident

In-app support

With the Sonder app, members have access to support in their palm, 24/7. This provides peace of mind for shift or lone workers, who know they can reach out and speak to a real person in seconds.

Via instant chat or a phone call, Sonder's member support team can help them with de-escalation tactics, or coordinate with emergency services as needed.

"We had an incident overnight with an aggressive customer. Sonder was used at about 1am this morning. After helping our employee call the police, the support staff performed hourly check-ins. Our employee described his Sonder experience as being very good and they were very appreciative of the support."

- Sonder customer

On-the-ground responders

Sonder has a network of highly-trained responders who are ready to travel and provide in-person assistance in times of critical need. Across Australia, New Zealand and the UK, Sonder has 148 responders, many of whom have a background in the emergency services, medical, or the military and all are trained in psychological first aid.

93%* of Sonder members were satisfied with Sonder's response to critical incidents, which included customer aggression.

*Source: Sonder Customer Satisfaction Score survey

Support after an incident

In-app support

Whether it's the next day, week or month, Sonder members can use the app to access medical and mental health support. Sonder's highly-trained member support team will then triage the request, to determine the most helpful path forward and follow up with the member, to see how they're getting on.

In our frontline safety webinar, Ashleigh Bearkley, Human Resources and WHS Advisor at Universal Store, shared how they encourage their workers to reach out to Sonder, following an incident.

On-the-ground responders

Sonder responders can visit a site following an incident of customer aggression to provide teams with face-to-face support. Responders will work with the local management team and with those affected to deliver personalised care, depending on the issues that member is dealing with, as well as providing them the knowledge of pathways to further support.

Early intervention and prevention

Check on me

Sonder's safety features, like the 'Check on me' tool, are being used by businesses to prevent the occurrence and severity of customer aggression, among other workplace risks.

'Check on me' is a discreet safety check-up. Members can set a time that suits (1am is the average check on me start time). When that time comes, the member can confirm they are fine, otherwise someone from Sonder's 24/7 member support team will reach out, and escalate the case as needed.

Sonder customer TFE Hotels has mandated that the 'Check on Me' safety feature is used every 30 minutes when shift managers are working alone. This has brought peace of mind to both employees and the wider business, and has been used a staggering 65,865 times in the last 12 months. In tandem, TFE Hotels actively encourages the adoption of the 'Track My Journey' app feature, especially for team members commuting to and from work. Read the full case study.


Helpful resources

Within the app, articles on de-escalation tactics and advice from Safe Work Australia give people in customer-facing industries practical, actionable advice. This kind of information empowers teams to take the steps they need to protect themselves before an event occurs.

Data to drive decisions

Businesses can use Sonder's real-time data to get ahead of their workforce health, safety and wellbeing challenges. Through a dashboard, businesses can track the health and safety status of their dispersed teams, helping them to identify trends and respond to the unique needs of their people. Armed with this information, leadership teams may bolster the support for locations, or shifts, that appear to be at a higher risk of aggressive customer incidents.

A Sonder member story

Mental health and wellbeing can be complex, and for some, incidents of customer aggression can trigger previous trauma.

In this anonymous member story, Sonder's Director of Nursing and Member Support Lead shares how Sonder was able to support a retail worker with complete care across mental health and safety support.

This clip was recorded during Webinar 'Don't take it out on us: How to support employees in retail and hospitality', watch it in full here.

Download our guide to frontline safety

Discover the data that suggests customer hostility is on the rise, plus strategies to reduce the risk and impact in our dedicated report.

It shares:

  • Survey data from 2,000+ employees and Sonder customers
  • How customer hostility, and a lack of support, impacts individuals and businesses
  • Expert commentary on strategies to reduce the risk and impact

Book a safety demo

For more information, check out a five minute overview of our safety features here, or book a demo with one of our product specialists for a personalised view.

About Sonder

Sonder is an Active Care technology company that helps organisations improve the wellbeing of their people so they perform at their best. Our mobile app provides immediate, 24/7 support from a team of safety, medical, and mental health professionals - plus onsite help for time-sensitive scenarios. Accredited by the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards (ACHS), our platform gives leaders the insights they need to act on tomorrow's wellbeing challenges today.

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There's so much more to share

Sonder is reimagining health, safety and wellbeing support. Sonder proves human centric care leads to earlier intervention. Sonder impacts one person at a time to drive meaningful change across an organisation. Sonder understands people and how to support them.

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