Business Etiquette – A Competitive Edge
I am not telling you anything new when I say businesses in Australia (and for that matter around the world) have experienced some tuff times over the past few years. When in this volatile state, business owners can get caught up in the day to day, the changes in their business circumstances (which were out of their control) and basically just go into survival mode.
Spending has been tight and has needed to be focused on the critical rather than the global. So, having ridden the ride and balanced on the wire, what can business owners do to standout above the noise but not spend a fortune.
Have you thought about etiquette as a competitive edge in your customer service?
I don’t know about you but there are many things that businesses do that really turn me off. To name only a few … Being late for appointments (or just not turning up at all) without so much as a phone call. Rushing through what they want to tell me rather than listening to what I want. Only making contact with me when they want me. And my really big gripe … leaving their mobile phones on when meeting with me and (in the worst events) taking calls and responding to texts (arrrgh!).
Etiquette is not an archaic way of behaviour. It is about a way of behaviour that makes the other person feel comfortable and responsive. There are many actions a business owner and their staff can take to demonstrate good etiquette, but here are just a few:
Do What you Say
As mentioned above, there is nothing more frustrating for a customer/client than expecting something to find it does not happen. Remember, your customer/client’s time is just as important to them as your’s is to you. If you say you are going to do something and you don’t then word will get around and the phone will stop ringing. We all know unforeseen circumstances happen, however, how hard is it to organise a phone call to a customer/client to say you are running a bit late or to explain circumstances that mean you are sorry that you can’t meet what you said you would do but this is what you are going to do about it.
Have you ever experienced a situation where either a business is talking at you and not listening to you or quite frankly looks like the representative is falling asleep and/or would rather be elsewhere? If you want the customer/client then BE PRESENT! It is about them not you! I am not suggesting you have to totally not move conversation along, but if you want to do better than your competitor, then listen and understand what your customer/client is asking so you can provide the best solution.
Thank-you seems to be becoming extinct from our vocabulary. And yet it is such a simple but powerful word. People respond to being appreciated and recognised. Thank-yous can take many forms from saying thank-you in person, shouting out thank-you on social media to symbols of thank-you like notes, a small gift (like a scratchy) etc. By way of example, here at Balanix we send a hand written note and some scratchies to those who refer clients to us to let them know how much we appreciate what they have done for our buisness.
If you are blogging a case study using a real customer/client situation – ask them if it is OK.
If you have received a lovely testimonial/review from a customer/client and you want to publish it on your website or social media pages – ask them if it is OK.
If you wish to let the world know which terrific customer/client you have done business with – ask them if it is OK.
Don’t just assume that others will be OK with what you want to do with the information.
And yes, I will tackle the pet peeve …
As indicated above, if you really want to secure the customer/client/sale … be present. Don’t answer your mobile phone when talking/meeting with someone … Don’t read and/or respond to a text, or check your Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or Google+ etc … remember, you want to impress this person … not make them feel that someone or something is more important.
I was impressed with the mobile message a friend in real estate has on their mobile (something along these lines):
“Hi, this is Jack Smith from Smith Real Estate. Unfortunately I can’t take your call right now as more than likely I am with a client at the moment. As a courtesy to them I have turned my mobile phone off so I can give them my best attention and service I can offer. I appreciate you phoning me and if you could please leave your name and contact number I will phone you back as soon as I can offer you my same focus.”
Running a business is tuff … but being courteous and considerate can do wonders!