A funny thing happened on the way to my office to write this newsletter. Well, not funny in a comical sense; funny as in unexpected.
I had already decided on the topic for this month’s edition of “Lydia Ramsey’s Business Etiquette Tips.” I recently participated in two trade shows; one was national, the other local. After observing the exhibitors and attendees at both, I was eager to offer some tips on trade show etiquette that would benefit those who spend long hours staffing their booths and those who take their time to wander the exhibit halls.
Look for that topic in my next newsletter. What I observed today while running a simple errand sent me in an entirely different direction, but one that I could not ignore. It struck at one of my core values: common courtesy.
As someone who speaks and writes about business etiquette and manners in the workplace, the first thing I want people to understand is that I am not talking about being stuffy, aloof or putting on airs. I am not promoting a set of rules. I am advocating building relationships. I am trying to advance the notion that manners, in professional or personal situations, are about treating others with courtesy, kindness and respect.
What I observed today flew in the face of all that I believe. I watched a young clerk at a pharmacy treat an elderly customer with total disregard and disrespect. Worse than that was that the clerk, whose job it was to listen to the customer and provide her with a product that would relieve her discomfort, could have cared less. Her attitude was a mix of rudeness and indifference with a touch of arrogance.
It seems to me that rudeness has now taken second place to indifference. Far too many people in the workplace simply don’t care. They don’t care about how they act, how they look, how they sound; and what is worse, they don’t care about other people. They don’t practice simple courtesies. There is no eye contact, no smile and recognition of the customer’s name.
It is way past time to take up the cause of common courtesy, to pay attention to the way we treat others and how we are treated. People in the business world need to understand that their success depends on customer service. The customer will endure rudeness and indifference just so long before they take their business elsewhere.
If you are the business owner, the manager or the supervisor, you need to insist on customer service and hold your employees to a standard of courtesy, kindness and respect. If you are the employee, you should understand that your job does not exist without customers.
I am wowed when I am treated with courtesy, kindness and respect. I no longer take even simple courtesies for granted, do you?
Hire Lydia to work with your staff to improve customer service and employee relations through the use of those priceless and often over-looked soft skills called manners. Lydia is the “unstuffy” business etiquette expert who helps individuals and organizations add the polish that builds profits. We’re talking about your bottom line here.
Since 1996, countless people have benefited from her wisdom through keynotes, seminars and conference breakout sessions. Her Southern charm and sense of humor have made her a sought-after speaker and consultant.
Based in Savannah, Georgia, Lydia is available for national, regional and local speaking and training engagements. She has suitcase; will travel.