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Where Are Your Manners?

Category: Customer Service

Remembering good manners is imperative in business.

by Martha Spelman


Since the beginning of time, or at least since the New Testament, “The Golden Rule” has guided society to “treat others as you would like to be treated.”  It’s my understanding that most people like to be treated with courtesy, consideration, civility and respect.  Maybe I’m wrong.


At least, judging by the treatment of others, and myself, people frequently treat other people very poorly.


This is disappointing personal behavior and really bad business behavior.


From Emily Post to Miss Manners to numerous children’s books on the subject, there is no lack of available information on correct manners – defined by Webster’s as: ways of behaving with reference to polite standards; social comportment.
“Pardon me”  “After You”  “Please” “Thank you”  “You’re welcome”


These phrases are just some of the basic vocabulary signaling good manners – and good marketing!


Poor personal behavior doesn’t usually have big consequences.  Bad business behavior most certainly can.
We’ve all seen the bad personal behavior – doors not held open, parking places usurped, RSVP’s that don’t show, no Thank you, no You’re welcome.


In the personal world – this may simply engender unpleasant feelings; in the business world it can mean far worse.


When the recession had hit hard enough for businesses to reconsider their customer service status, there was a palpable, sometimes overwhelming, increase in variations of “How Can I Help You?”  As the recession lingers on, the focus on customer service has faded.


I often recommend that my clients assess the quality of their customer service as I feel that it is a huge component of a successful marketing plan.  Is the staff answering phones promptly and with enthusiasm?  Do they respond quickly to emails?  Are they meeting or exceeding client’s expectations?  Do they check in with a client during a job in progress?  Do they follow up once the project is complete?


Are they treating others as they would like to be treated?


Only recently, I did a big favor for a business acquaintance.  In trying to help a newspaper writer find relevant story lines (and, I’ll admit, to curry favor and have my existing clients get a shot at some PR), I referred a non-client to a newspaper writer.  As a result of my efforts, I got that acquaintance a glowing write-up about his firm’s work.  No charge, no obligation.


Did I even get a thank-you?  No.  I emailed them to see if they’d thanked the writer. No.  Wow.  Think I’ll refer them again?  No.  Think the writer will take up their cause again? No.


The acquaintance didn’t have to thank me, or the writer, but it sure would have been nice – and good business manners.


Does your company include customer service as part of your marketing plan? 


Martha Spelman is a branding and marketing consultant.  Find out more at: marthaspelman.comThank you!


Martha Spelman is a Los Angeles-based branding and marketing expert and the co-founder of Packbands silicone storage and organization straps. Martha is the author of The Cure for Blogophobia: How to Easily Create, Publish & Promote Your Business Blog. Click to connect on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

To find out more about Packbands, visit the Packbands website. Martha can be reached directly at: 310.266.6992 or