>Where did being courteous to a customer go?  This past weekend attempting to complete some household projects,  I encountered employees in different businesses who really didn’t seem to care one iota about me as a customer and how I felt about them and their company.

It started with the computer store.  After spending a nice sum of money on a new computer, the cd drive didn’t work.  Having to unhook and rehaul the computer back to the store, I was met with a clear sense of indifference by the “experts” at the Help desk.  Took five minutes just to get one’s attention and then their facial expressions were very visible as to how much they really didn’t care about my problem or feel any sense of urgency in getting it fixed.

Next stop was my favorite big box hardware store.  Needed seven different items and was in a hurry.   Three clerks were standing in the front of the store carrying on a conversation with each other when I asked if one of them could help me find the items on my list.  Once again, it was obvious in body language and facial expressions that this was not what they wished to be doing.  I felt I was an imposition, not a person that ultimately was giving them their paycheck!

The last straw was the phone call I had to make to the pest control company to come out and see why there were still bugs in my house even though they had serviced it a couple of weeks ago.  The expressed exasperation in the voice of the
scheduler who made it seem like it was my fault the roaches and ants were appearing and the curtness in the way she quoted the appointment times, was enough to make me believe that courtesy is slowing dying in our society.

Here’s a Courtesy Checklist for your employees of the essential elements of courteous behavior:

  • a willingness to discover opportunities to exceed the customer’s expectations
  • sincerity
  • a friendly smile (even over the phone)
  • using the person’s name when possible
  • a neat appearance
  • proper use of language
  • exceptional listening skills (attentiveness)
  • a relaxed and natural tone of voice
  • appropriate eye contact
  • clear communicatin at the customer’s comprehension level
  • knowledge about the product or service

How customers are treated is often the difference between organizations that succeed and those that fail.


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