The Secret to Attracting More Customers

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As I travel around the country and the world, I am constantly struck by the lack of manners today. Few business people seem to place any value on common courtesy, which translates into customer service, which then translates into profits. The lack of business etiquette skills runs the gamut from polite dining, professional dressing to such simple acts as saying “Thank you” to a customer or an employee.  Very few people bother with expressing any sort of appreciation.  Every customer needs to hear those words whether they come from the top executive of the car dealership that sold you a new BMW or the cashier at the check out counter who rang up your toothpaste.

Customers should to be thanked for coming in, waiting to be helped, holding for you on the phone, making a purchase or simply showing interest in a product or service.  It is not rocket science and requires no advanced degrees. It is easy to implement when it comes from the top down.  When the CEO thanks his employees, those people are more inclined to thank the customers.  It is “viral” as we say. When the organization offers formal training in business etiquette, it makes an even greater impact.

The hospitality industry is the best at expressing appreciation to their clients. They actually spend the time and the money to train their employees in good manners. I recently presented a program at an association convention that was held at the Ritz-Carlton on Amelia Island. The effort that the Ritz puts into training its employees is obvious.  It struck me that the courteousness of the staff carried over to the guests who interacted with total strangers in the same gracious way.

Something else that I have noticed in the hospitality industry is the emphasis that is placed on greeting guests properly and promptly. When you are on the road as much as I am, it makes a huge difference to be called by name each time you enter a lobby, pass by the reception desk or eat in the hotel restaurant.

Then they go a step further. They teach employees the correct answer to a “Thank you.”  In 99% of the hotels where I have stayed while taking my “Manners That Sell” presentations on the road, when I thank an employee, their answer is either “You are welcome” or “It is my pleasure.”  The rest of the world seems to think that the response to a “Thank you” is “No problem.”  Who suggested that there was a problem?

You can be like every other company and disregard the simple “thank you” or you and your employees can make it a requirement.  You’ll be surprised at how those few words “thank you” and “you are welcome” will set you apart from your competitors and how adding a bit of polish will build profits. Be different from everyone else–be polite.

professional speaker

Photo from Savannah magazine

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.

Contact her via email at or call 912-604-0080. Sign up for her free monthly newsletter and visit her website,

3 thoughts on “The Secret to Attracting More Customers

  1. Mary Rose Threet


    I have used your book, “Manners That Sell,” as a valuable resource when talking to our young sales trainees about the importance of courtesy when dealing with customers. This article is so timely and is such an important topic! Thanks so much for taking the time to help all of us become better (and more successful) professionals!

    Mary Rose Threet

  2. Christina Ricci

    Saying thanks has been a lost art in business customer service. A word of gratitude is something priceless that can’t be bought by anybody. As you said, it’s like saying ‘no problem!’ People will appreciate that because no one likes problems. Thank you Lydia!

  3. Frank Murphy

    Hi Lydia:

    Once again your message is timely. Let me tell you what happened yesterday.

    I am working in OK and staying in a Holiday Inn Express. Yesterday, it was 105 and I returned to my room for a cool shower, only to find that the bed had been made and nothing else done. After my shower, I went to the front desk where the housekeeper was talking to the manager.

    When I asked if I could get some coffee, she visibly jumped and began apologizing, saying that she had the whole hotel (all 4 floors) to clean by herself because several housekeepers failed to show. She had written herself a note to return to the room to finish it, but at 6 PM, was still working feverishly to get all the rooms made up.

    I told her that we all had days like that and there was nothing to be concerned about. I was not unhappy but sympathetic. She was at the room less than a minute later to finish up.

    Today (108), I returned to the room to find a note signed by the manager and several of the front desk and housekeeping staff apologizing for any inconvenience I was caused. On the note was a basket full of bottled water, candy, snacks, nuts, and beef jerky. Now THAT’S a great way to say thanks.

    I am sending a letter to the IHG group commending the manage and staff. They know how to treat their guests. I was very encouraged by this display of concern and consideration, and I hope you are too. It fit right in with your message.



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