Courtesy is a way of life

It’s January and the time for New Year’s resolutions, but resolutions are only made to be broken.

Please and thanks is here all year long – for 366 days in 2004 – because it’s a way of life.

Some people think that common courtesy is old-fashioned and, especially in business, that threats and bullying get things done faster. But it’s clear that acting courteously is as necessary now as it has ever been and that courtesy boosts business.

Courtesy can eliminate the causes of stress with just a few words. Today many people are stressed, because they feel isolated – that no one else understands or can help with their problems. This disconnection from people around us is damaging, both to us as individuals and to the communities in which we live. We stop being effective, we lose our motivation and we drag other people down with us.

Yet a few words of recognition can literally change the whole world – not our physical environment, but the way we see who we are and everyone and everything around us. And if you think we’re exaggerating, try it and see.

Perhaps someone who works for you feels that you don’t recognise their efforts or a colleague feels you don’t take in what they say? Do people steer clear of you, because they think you’re grumpy, when what you really want is for someone to talk to? Do your customers feel your business is unapproachable, when actually your staff are too busy to take a few moments to talk to them?

Being polite is enjoyable . . .

Please and thanks is all about the difference between simply existing and enjoying every aspect of being alive; about enjoying your work, whether you’re in a factory, office or shop as an employee, manager or owner; about passing on your enthusiasm to people around you; and connecting with your community and environment, so that you always feel glad to be alive.

. . . and courtesy boosts business

What does this mean to business? Satisfied customers who enjoy buying from you; motivated staff who want to stay with you; happy suppliers who will put themselves out to work with you – in business terms, these equate to improved efficiency, lower staff turnover, higher customer retention and increased profits. If your business is not polite, your shareholders should be clamouring to know what this is costing your business – and their investment in it.

After all, courtesy costs nothing – it is genuinely free and incredibly potent.

So, apart from words, what is please and thanks courtesy boosts business 2004 all about?

Courtesy business initiative with support materials

Through the web site – which is free to use – we aim to encourage the return of courtesy to UK business. As well as articles and discussions on why courtesy is important, businesses can use the please and thanks Courtesy Toolkit, full of ideas, suggestions, materials and prompt sheets. The toolkit will grow considerably over the coming months.

We also invite people – individuals, customers, employees or managers – to send in examples of courteous behaviour by businesses, which we will publish on this site. Remember, it’s not just courtesy to customers that matters – it’s between manager and employee, employee and employee, customer and employee, manager and manager; in fact, between everyone and everyone else.

With the resources of please and thanks at the command of UK businesses, there’s no excuse for rudeness.

Courtesy makes life better for everyone and for business, it can improve performance instantly.

So let’s ensure that courtesy boosts business in 2004.

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