People running businesses sometimes fail to understand how inter-personal skills and business etiquette can help or hinder the acquisition and retention of customers.
Dealing with some types of business problem is relatively easy.
Obtaining capital injections can typically be achieved through people such as www.wongaforbusiness.com and it’s always possible to take business development advice from centres such as your local chamber of commerce or even the government’s own websites.
Yet business protocols are less frequently discussed – sometimes with potentially disastrous results.
So, here are a few basic business courtesy tips that it might be advisable to adopt:
- stay polite but formal with customers unless you have worked with them for a long time. That means avoiding immediately starting to use forenames. In fact, you should normally ask the customer if they mind you calling them by their forename before doing so;
- be cautious with humour. Unless you know the other party well, it is easy to offend or be entirely misunderstood;
- switch your mobile phone off when you are dealing with a customer. Nothing infuriates people more than when you keep checking your mobile and pushing buttons while they are trying to talk to you about business matters;
- dress smartly. Don’t make the mistake of thinking this is old-fashioned. Looking as if you have just come straight off of a demolition site when dealing with customers is hardly likely to fill them with confidence – even if you are trying to sell them demolition services;
- respond promptly to email and phone messages. People typically understand you may not always be able to respond immediately but they will expect at least an acknowledgement of their communication within a sensible time period;
- don’t horse around. You may think your antics are amusing but you may be perceived as being either juvenile or flippant – neither normally considered to be desirable characteristics by customers;
- under no circumstances should you lie to your customers. Leaving aside the ethics of telling lies, human beings can frequently detect when someone is lying to them by their body language, voice patterns or logical inconsistencies / implausibility in the story being told. If something has gone wrong, tell the truth, apologise and put it right quickly – but don’t lie!
Even in our typically modern and informal world, the above practices will normally be very well received.