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May 27, 2009

Respect and Customer Service


I recently attended an event, had a telephone conversation with a colleague and then read an article on communicating through social networking.  The one thing that those events had in common was manners.  You know those good old fashioned things our parents pounded into us from day one.

I recently attended a funeral where I observed as everyone departed that many of the men stepped into the aisle and made room for their female companion to go ahead of them, a younger woman letting her elderly mother go first and a younger man letting his father go first.  Sadly that was not the case for everyone.  As I watched I realized it had nothing to do with equality, but rather was a matter of respect.

Next the phone conversation with the colleague on how in business we forget to say Please and Thank you and we often see people who do not have the basic social skills in business settings.  Again this is not a case of “being yourself” but rather a matter of respect towards the setting.

Then I read an article on how Face Book, Twitter, You Tube, etc. are taking over as our form of communication.  I’ll admit I’m a tech junkie and I have a Face Book page and I “Tweet”, but I don’t use them to the exclusion of face to face interaction.   Again a sign of respect for my clients, friends, family and colleagues.

So, where is this all going —- back to the basics.    If you practice manners in your personal life, it will naturally carry over in your business life and that will help you “Build For Tomorrow”.    Customers, constituents and colleagues who are respected for their opinions, time and business will be there to support you.

See if you are regularly doing any of these:

  1. Do you routinely greet (with a smile) anyone who comes through your door or calls
  2. Do you say “thank you” and use the appropriate form – sometimes an old fashioned hand written note is just the ticket.
  3. Do you make it easy for people to do business with you?
    1. When you send an e mail – is all your contact information on there
    2. Do you have a website and is it up to date?
    3. Do they have to go through lots of pages just to find out your address or hours?
    4. When you send out an e mail/newsletter with information on it you are hoping others will share do you have a link spelled out they can use?   Not just the word “link”.
    5. If you are an owner, manager, elected official – have you set up more than one way for people to contact you?

Again all of these things are not what we are comfortable with, but how we connect to others so that it is  comfortable for them.  Good customer service is just using manners to show respect and customer service is what we do everyday and every hour of our lives.

I would love to have you share some of your ideas on this subject, or some of your pet peeves.

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