Business Etiquette in the Age of Texting

Posted on July 8, 2011. Filed under: Brand Promise, Customer Experience, Practical Branding |

I’m giving a presentation on business etiquette to a professional society in a couple of weeks. I think I have a decent handle on business etiquette, but did some research to get the latest and greatest. There are some pretty interesting pieces of information out there, things like, “You can talk about politics, as long as you don’t attack a particular side, but you should never, ever swear.” I don’t know about you, but I think we’re better off if both are off limits!

One piece of advice I really like, though, is that true business etiquette isn’t a bunch of rules, but rather a genuine regard for those around us, be they prospects, customers, or colleagues. Don’t you hate it when a provider’s employee bashes another employee or group of employees? I’m thinking about our cable provider at home…when we had a technical problem and had to call someone out multiple times to fix it. Inevitably the person working on the issue would tell us that the previous repair people didn’t know what they were doing. That frustrated me on a multitude of levels! Or how about this one? I read about a guy who had called his bank and asked too many questions; the bank had a policy that a maximum of three questions could be asked per phone call. When he went to the bank and complained, he was told that all could be resolved if he just understood the rules. Apparently it was his fault, not the bank’s. (I wonder whose fault it was when he moved his accounts to a different bank?)

It’s pretty obvious when there’s a genuine regard for someone else…and when there isn’t. For those of us responsible for sales and the customer experience, it could look something like this. Once the agreement is drawn up and sent over, the offering bears no resemblance to what was presented by the salesperson due to a desire to “just get a sale.” Or it could look more like this. The account manager has no idea what the customer purchased because there’s been no handoff of information. Just two scenarios, and there could be many others, but you get the picture. It’s still pretty obvious when there’s a genuine regard for someone else…and when there isn’t.

So in this age of texting, when addressing an envelope is nearly a lost art, when email is often misunderstood as communication, and when automated prompts answer our phone calls more often than people, dare your brand to be different. Dare to have a genuine regard for those around you. Let’s all show a little love to our prospects, customers, and colleagues. Let’s stop worrying so much about business etiquette rules and simply care…a lot!

-jkl

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One Response to “Business Etiquette in the Age of Texting”

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Amen. Businesses would thrive and there would be a heck of a lot less miscommunication if people just cared about what they were doing. Never assume that you’re doing a great job, communicate to your friends, family, neighbors, and customers that you are and will do what you say you will do.


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