“Goodwill to All Men” is not just for Christmas.
This blog could also be called Manners Matter because it’s really about how we treat others – customers, suppliers, and everybody we come into contact with while doing business – but particularly those that we communicated with electronically. At Christmas everyone is full of goodwill and good cheer, we want the best for people and we take the time to convey these wishes and acknowledge those received. We appear to be kinder, more polite and understanding in the way we deal with others. So why not extend this generosity and care throughout the year.
Technology has made the world a much smaller place – it’s possible to contact and do business more or less with anyone, anywhere in the world - but ironically it’s also created a remoteness in the way that we do business. We don’t know and have never seen many of the people who contact us electronically so it’s easy to forget that at the end of an email, text, tweet etc., there is (usually) a human being. (I know that we all suffer from email spam and nuisance calls but there are ways of filtering these and it’s quite easy to spot the genuinely interested ones). We can appear detached, disengaged and less courteous or well-mannered when dealing with customers in this way. Think about all the emails / texts you send that are never acknowledge, let alone replied to; messages left on phones that are never returned; and people you feel you have to hound before you get a response. And the “being too busy” excuse (as used by all of us at some point) is just not good enough. We would never dream of ignoring customers / people that were stood in front of us or blankly refuse to acknowledge them. We would thank them for their interest and either make time there and then or arrange an appointment at a more convenient time.
In some cases we don’t respond because we don’t like being the bearers of bad news but most people would truly prefer a straight “no, thank you” than no response at all. And the age old adage “Treat other people as you’d like them to treat you” is still as true today as it ever was. Whatever the medium.
What we seem to have forgotten is that first impressions are crucial however they’re made - whether it’s face to face, over the phone, communicating via email or Social Media. If we’ve failed to respond or engage with someone who’s shown a genuine interest in us or our company then we’ve not only lost that opportunity but possibly many others as bad news travels much faster than good and we’ve all woken up to the power of bad reviews on Social Media.
So the thing to remember is that Good Manners cost nothing but are worth everything.
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