Manners? Do they matter in business?

Do you use manners?

Basic “Ps & Qs”

When I go into a shop and ask anyone anything, I say “Please” somewhere in that sentence. When paying and taking my goods I say “Thank you” when given change or my card back. I can’t not do it. It’s just automatic.
And as for my lovely friend who edits for ever and a day on my stuff and won’t accept anything more than a “Please” or “Thank you”, I feel very guilty!

So, how is it possible for people not to use these manners? I expect a shop assistant to say “Please” when they say the amount I owe and “Thank you” when I hand over the money or card.

I recently read an interesting discussion in a network group. It really took off. Someone asked if people should say “Thank you” to someone who has taken the time to tag someone to help them answer their question in the group. Or say “Thank you” when someone takes the time to help them.
Mostly people said “Yes, of course”. Others said “Don’t look for it”, whilst that was answered with “People don’t look for it, they note it by its absence”.

man and sales assistant talking over golf clubs

Someone else was accused of not saying “Thank you” in another post and he said he took ownership of it, meaning perhaps that he admitted it. But he then didn’t go back to thank anyone. I wonder why that was? Was it admittance of being rude? Or something we should just ignore?

Now, this was a business forum used by people from different sectors. A place for exchanging support, help and advice and do business together. I find it stunning that anyone could be rude to potential customers because not saying “thank you” IS rude.

I personally really don’t like working with people who can’t use basic manners. I think good manners are crucial to any relationship.

It doesn’t cost anything, doesn’t hurt and you can’t offend anyone by using good manners but you can offend people by not using them. After all, if you can’t get these basics right, how will you be able to get the finer details of good business etiquette right? How can you really be listening to your customers and showing respect if you can’t even thank them for being there in the first place? Will you interrupt them?

Should you test potential new staff for manners at the recruitment stage? I would argue “yes”. Does the candidate say “Yes, please” or “No, thank you” when offered a glass of water? Whether someone has manners is usually demonstrated through their habits, rather than by the answer to a question. Don’t dismiss them out of hand though, it might only need a training exercise, just as important as training them in your computer systems or policies.

Manners are equally important at the top of the company tree as they are at the bottom. It should be part of any company’s culture. A company that ensure its employees treat each other with respect will usually treat its customers with respect, which will bring rewards.

How important do you think good manners are in business?

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Author: Helen Dewdney, The Complaining Cow

Consultant | Author | Speaker | Blogger | Presenter | Journalist Helping to make, prevent and deal with complaints

2 thoughts on “Manners? Do they matter in business?”

  1. I totally agree with you on this Helen. So much so I could have written it myself!

    I can’t abide bad manners nor the lack of good manners.

    Both are noticed. The former by their appearance and the latter by their absence.

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