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    4 Replies Latest reply on Dec 6, 2011 9:52 AM by Moderator_MoniE

    Minding your manners & those of your employees, too!


      A while back I wrote about an experience I had concerning a customer service issue. When I logged in today, I was reminded of it and the events that have taken place since then. I have had several more encounters with this business because the process requires multiple visits over time and once begun, I am locked into dealing with them at least to the conclusion of this procedure before I can look elsewhere for someone who more politely meets my needs. Sometimes, medical concerns reach way beyond the physical issues well into a person’s emotions and often times people are emotionally affected by their physical concerns. Because of that, everyone needs to be treated differently; some with "kid gloves", others with gentle reassurance and even some with a strong confidence that says you are the professional for the job and they need not worry as they have chosen well.



      The place has rotating physicians and I was fortunate enough to have a physician the two times previous who handled me and my emotions perfectly. The appointments were quick and painless because I felt like he cared about me and not as much about shuffling me through as quickly as he could. However, my last visit was once again a customer service nightmare as the physician I saw was one I do not care for because he is arrogant and treats others as though he is the "expert" and they should simply agree with whatever his determination is, no questions asked and move along please.



      The appointment ended when they called in the assistant they utilize specifically to get rid of the patient when their time has run over. She enters the cubical, assertively tells the associate that has been working with you that she is needed elsewhere and then gruffly asks if you have any other concerns. Any protests to her intervention or attempts to go back and give her a history of the appointment to catch her up to speed are met with resistance as she bluntly tells you that you need to sign the paperwork and see the receptionist. She is rude and obnoxious and when you see her, you know you have been labeled as a "difficult" patient who is wasting their time. Stick the proverbial fork in you because you're done.



      What reminded me of my ongoing medical drama with more twists and turns than the Twilight Saga was a new community article written by Steve Strauss entitled Business Etiquette Today where he discusses appropriate manners businesses should utilize. From the receptionist that greeted him with, "What's up, Bro?" to the "multitaskers", Steve outlines what should be a rule and what's not cool with office, employee and business manners today. It's a good read. In fact, I think I might take a hard copy to my next appointment and casually leave it on the receptionist’s desk when she steps out.



      In my last post about customer service I asked if we, as a society, have possibly brought this on ourselves and I would like to address that point again. Do you think that customers with poor manners constantly yelling, cursing and ranting about their discontent have resulted in businesses allowing their employees to "cop attitude" in order to "fight fire with fire"? Is it acceptable for a business to "give back what they get" from an angry or upset consumer and more so, should that bad vibe be allowed to carry over to customers who are being polite just because the employee has been put on the defensive?



      When, if ever, is it okay for someone representing the business to utilize less than appropriate manners? Weigh in with your thoughts and comments! You know I always love a good discussion!



      Cheers and Happy Holidays!


        • Re: Minding your manners & those of your employees, too!
          LUCKIEST Guide

          Good manners are simply respect and consideration for others, or simply being aware of other people's needs.

          If children are not taught good manners, they think that they are the most important people in the World.

          That way lies trouble, not just for the individual but for society as a whole. Unruly and ill-mannered children grow to be

          unlikable adults with no self-discipline who believe that the rules only apply to others.

          With that "attitude", they then go into the business world both as customers and employees.


          Wishing you all the best in this coming holiday season.



            • Re: Minding your manners & those of your employees, too!

              I agree, Luckiest, good manners are taught when one is young and apparently this generation had been so consumed with making ends meet and both parents working that the up and coming generation wasn't taught as appropriately as they could have been. Some, however, pick it up on their own while others learn the hard way and it seems some don't learn at all. Sometimes, I feel like I must have grown into a real prudish "fuddy-duddy" in my old age because I find myself appalled at the way I see the my children’s generation acting at times.



              But that only explains the attitudes and entitlements of one part of today's consumers, employees and business owners. I had hoped that my own generation was raised to be more respectful and that we weren't a party to the anger management issues that seem to be prevalent today, but having dealt with several business people my own age who seem jaded and angry, I have to wonder how they got that way. Hence why I asked if it's possible that we, as consumers, have changed how we all view one another in business relations.


              People can change over time ... be it because they have lost the passion, become jaded or cynical or because of extenuating circumstances totally unrelated to the job. So even though I agree manners and respect are taught from the onset, or should be, as a generalized theory, I can't believe it is the entire cause of the problem.


              Did you get a chance to read Steve's article, Luckiest? If so, do you have any stories to share with us about your experiences?




            • Re: Minding your manners & those of your employees, too!

              What I see happening is two sided in business.  A lot of customers have become rude, demanding , disrespectful, and such towards stores and employees.  When I worked in retail in 2006, although I was the electronics salesman, I found most of my job focused on keeping the surrounding departments clean instead of selling movies/music/games/phones and such.  I would clean aisle after aisle of the store and come back 30 minutes later to find it a mess again.  (Surprising considering how few customers the store actually got.)  A store doesn't belong to the customer (well most don't), it isn't the playground for customer's children, and it isn't a democracy.


              As such, I think a lot of employees and managers have just gotten tired of smiling though a customer ranting at them because a box of macaroni was 1/4th of an inch over the 3 for 2 sign for tuna and they are refusing to give the discount.  No, it isn't right that they should start being rude and unprofessional, but customers could go a long way toward being politer.


              Is it ever okay to be less professional?  Sure, let's say you run a convenience store, no one is around and your friend comes in.  You can crack some in-jokes or such as long as it's only the two of you I would suppose.  That's not to say you can smile and joke around with everyday customers, just keep it clean and polite.


              That's my two cents anyway.



                • Re: Minding your manners & those of your employees, too!

                  Thanks for the input, Paul! I agree, society has found their voice and is no longer afraid to use it but many seem to have lost their manners in the process! However, I still don't believe it gives employees the right to be surly with all customers because of a few bad apples. Each situation should be dealt with on a case by case basis and handled accordingly.



                  I know it is the holiday season and our community members are busy making plans, attending parties and getting their "Santa Claus" on but I sure wish more people would weigh in here!