WordsWorking

Here you go

Customer service. Remember that? It had something to do with communications.

Ah, right. Now I recall. There was a pleasant focus on manners, with “please” and “thank you” sprinkled throughout.

What do we get now? “Here you go.”

That’s it. That’s what they say.

“Here you go.”

They are, of course, the customer service representatives, the cashiers, the people who take your money, hand you a receipt, with a hearty . . . “Here you go.”

Or maybe not so hearty. Maybe it’s more like “I have a job that pays less than what I deserve and I’m just ready for my shift to be over so here you go.”

Don’t get me wrong. I feel for people who are not making what they should and who are in jobs that are nowhere near their career choice. However, regardless of what job they (we) do, they (we) need to put heart and manners into it.

Has customer service faded away, along with work ethic, workplace etiquette, and employee commitment? Are employees not taught the basics of thanking customers for their business? Have we just reached the point where we don’t care if we are appreciated by the particular establishment where we opted to spend our money?

There is probably a way to connect this to the short-attention span, immediate gratification, distracted-by-electronics society that we have become. But I digress ….

I choose to think people can do better. People can learn – or relearn – basic manners and etiquette.

And, truly, all hope is not lost. There are actually still people in business with decent customer communication skills. Where I prefer to spend my money on seafood, the employees behind the counter greet me, thank me, and even give me a big smile and a “see you next time!”

Awesome.

Employees can learn. Customers can be more appreciated. All it takes is an extra breath and another two words: “Here you go. Thank you!”

Try it. Let me know how it goes.

R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

Positive communications, customer service, and business relationships are all developed from a base of respect. Think about it. If you don’t respect your clients, potential customers, vendors, or fellow business people, how will that affect your own business growth?

How do you show respect in your business relationships? Do you follow these guidelines?

Respond to messages, emails, text, and calls promptly. Replying promptly shows respect for the other person’s time and efforts in reaching out to you.

Engage in active discussions, in writing and verbally. Listen carefully, read every word, and provide thoughtful feedback.

Share details, as appropriate. Keeping others in the dark does not give you any more power; on the contrary, it denigrates any respect others may have had for you.

Put down the electronic device. Give your fully focused attention to others in the room during a discussion or meeting. Show respect by actively listening when others are speaking.

Enrich others with your knowledge. While initially this sounds a bit pompous, in reality when you are open to helping others learn what you already know, they will develop a respect for your giving nature and for your level of expertise.

Communicate clearly. Avoid jargon, clichés, and vague references that might not be readily understood. When you speak and write using simple words and clear, succinct terms, others respect you for your communication skills and for your consideration.

Think positive. Speak with a positive tone. Write with a positive focus. People respect professionals who are upbeat and who see possibilities.

Respect is earned. Show respect to others – consistently – and you will earn their respect in return. Your business will undoubtedly benefit as well.

Are your words working . . . for good?

Many of us have made New Year’s resolutions, which may or may not have already been broken. Here’s one more suggestion: try focusing on the positive in your written and spoken words.

There are a lot of clichés floating around this time of year, encouraging us to do good things. Be nice. Think of others. Be kind. They are nice thoughts, but a bit vague.

Most of us probably want to be better people. Even so, dictionary.com’s word of the year for 2016 was xenophobia. Basically, that means a fear of people we don’t know or who are foreign to us.

How do we overcome that fear and become better people at the same time? By using our words for good.

Instead of saying “I don’t trust that person because I don’t know her,” try “I would like to get to know that person so I can learn more about who she is and how we can help each other.”

Using our words to learn more about others can help us remove the barriers that create misunderstanding and mistrust. As business people, in particular, we need to use positive words when interacting with potential clients, with employees, with vendors, and with each other.

So here’s an experiment for you. During the next week, focus on your words. Do you automatically say something negative when someone does something you don’t like? Stop and think about how you can turn that around, into a positive.

For example, if a vendor is slow in delivering a product you ordered, try starting with the positive: “You have a successful business, which is wonderful, and I understand you may be overwhelmed with orders. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help the process go a little smoother.”

If an employee clearly needs some direction as she is not able to do her job up to your standards, try: “Sally, you are trying so hard and I appreciate that. How can I help you? Let’s work through this together.”

You may be amazed at the response you receive when you use your words for good.

Let me know how it goes!