Articles Tagged with customers

Just take two seconds to . . .

. . . say ‘thank you’.

It happens all the time. We’re busy. Our colleagues are busy. Our customers are busy. There’s a deadline to be met. We work beyond our contracted hours. We do it for our colleagues, for our customers, for the business or organisation, for the community. We lose all track of time to get it done.

And when we eventually click to send the report, post the goods or send off the delivery, that’s it: nothing.

No recognition, no acknowledgement, no thank you.

Someone recently told me that they had worked extremely hard, beyond the call of duty, to gather data for a project, only to hear other people thanked and their own contributions not acknowledged. They felt deflated.

It takes just a few seconds to email or text: thank you.

It takes just a few seconds to call and say: thank you.

It takes a few more seconds to pop your head into an office and say: thank you.

It takes a bit longer to call into another building and say: thank you.

Whether it’s a few seconds or a bit longer, your ‘thank you’ will mean the world to the person you thank.

And what’s more, they’ll work hard for you again when you need it.

It costs so little, yet means so much to everyone.

Read our recognition and acknowledgement polite prompt and checklist for ideas on how to thank those who work so hard for us.

Thank you.

• Robert Zarywacz is the co-founder of pleaseandthanks.co.uk and is courtesy consultant for the National Campaign for Courtesy. As well as focusing on courtesy in daily life, he believes wholeheartedly in the individual benefits and commercial value of courtesy in business and the workplace. Robert provides commercial copywriting, PR and social media services at z2z.com.

Courtesy works both ways at work and in business

It’s a common sight in doctors’ surgeries, banks and similar places to see signs saying that offensive language and aggression towards employees will not be tolerated and that anyone doing so will be required to leave.

Recently, I’ve also heard individuals complain about the way they have been treated by both public services and private companies.

Customers and employers need to be treated courteously: it works both ways.

How do we achieve this?

Sometimes employees who meet the public every day do become cynical. They can feel they are not being treated with courtesy or frustrated at having to answer the same questions again and again. But in many cases the customer is there because they need help. Just because other people have been annoying or discourteous must not make us judge everyone on first sight. Whatever job we’re doing, whatever level we’re at, it costs nothing to be courteous to customers.

In the same way, as customers we must not assume that any employee is going to be unhelpful. Even if we’ve had a bad experience with an organisation, we must treat the person we come to see courteously.

Everyone deserves to be greeted politely and to be  treated with courtesy. If we start in this way, very often our dealings will proceed smoothly.

But what if they don’t? What if an employee is surly and unhelpful? What if a customer is aggressive and even violent? Then it is right for an individual or organisation to take appropriate action, whether to complain or require a person causing offence to leave.

Institutional or habitual discourtesy causes headaches not only for businesses and organisations, but for employees and individuals too. On the other hand, courtesy embedded in our everyday lives encourages things to go more smoothly and is beneficial to both sides.

What’s more, courtesy is free and available to us all at any time.

Obtaining feedback courteously

Feedback is very important for a business to see how well it is doing, but obtaining it courteously is important.

In week eight of the Ilfracombe courteous town initiative we look at how to obtains customer comments without hassling them.

Is courtesy from customers important?

We often hear stories about rude shop assistants and poor service, but how polite are customers? And does it matter?

If a shop assistant is rude to customers, there’s a number of problems that could be the cause. If that’s how they normally act, there must be a management problem or they would have resolved the situation.

But what if customers are rude? Should sales assistants and other customer service staff have to put up with it?

Customers can become impatient and dissatisfied if they have to wait a long time in a queue, if service is slow or a shop doesn’t have required items in stock, but these are no reasons to abuse staff. If there is a problem, it isn’t necessarily the fault of the sales assistant, so why should they get the blame?

From a sales assistant’s point of view, they have to deal with possibly hundreds of people every day. Their job could be repetitive or tedious, but that doesn’t prevent them trying to give good service.

Customers saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, making eye contact and being helpful can make shop assistants’ working life more enjoyable. This behaviour also acknowledges the value of the person’s role: we want to buy something from the shop and they make the transaction possible.

In shops with busy check-outs it’s not always possible to have a conversation, but in some shops it is possible and it tends to make shopping a more enjoyable experience for us.

If we are really annoyed in a shop, being rude achieves nothing. If we think if makes us more important or gives us more authority, we’re wrong. If we’re rude to staff in a big shop, they have very little opportunity to act outside the shop’s processes, so they probably become more frustrated and upset than we do. If we have a gripe, it’s best to take it up, firmly but politely, with the management. If we don’t get a fair resolution, we can exercise the ultimate sanction: take our custom to a competitor.

It costs nothing but a few seconds to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ and it’s just as important whether we are the customer or the supplier.

Will you commit to courtesy?

It’s all very well talking, but words achieve little: actions are far more powerful.

As please and thanks rolls into action, we’re encouraging businesses and organisations to commit to courtesy.

Why? Apart from making people feel better, it can be a benefit to business in terms of productivity, customer satisfaction and customer retention.

If you want to show that you are committed to courtesy, you can download and display a committed to courtesy poster or make a pledge on our commit page.

Thank you.