“Please”, “Thank You”, “May I” and “You’re Welcome”…. These are all very familiar terms of speech to all of us, yet they
are words that we seem to hear less and less. As I sat at a restaurant last week, I observed people not holding doors for others, customers demanding things of the wait staff by saying “I want” and “I need”, and people not pushing their chairs in when leaving their table. I was astounded at the lack of basic manners and courtesy and the more I paid attention to it, the more I noticed it.
When the waitress came to our table, she seemed almost taken aback when my husband and I ordered by saying “May I please have…”, when we thanked her every time she helped us, and how respectful we were. When she dropped off our bill, she commented on how friendly and polite we had been and how she wished that all of her customers were that way. My question is, why aren’t they? When did manners and basic courtesy get cast aside? Don’t we all deserve to be treated with kindness and respect? Yes we do.
In our personal lives, as well as our professional lives, basic courtesy and manners will get you far. In today’s fast paced world it seems like people don’t feel like they have time to be polite to others and that is far from true. With more and more business being conducted over the phone, and through nonverbal forms of communication such as emails and instant messaging, it is more important than ever to always be courteous and use your manners. The person on the receiving end of your email or IM cannot see your face, hear your tone of voice, or read your body language. Something that you have written quickly, because you were in a rush may come off as rude and curt if you omit important things such as a basic salutation and introduction. No one wants to do business with a person who can’t even be bothered with the simple niceties.
In my position as Quality Assurance, I stress the use of manners, the importance of a friendly tone and helpful attitude to our call center agents. These are some of the areas that are critical to being a great call center. Being as that we are the face/voice of many of the clients we answer for, we never get a second chance to make a first impression for our client’s customer. If we come across as rude, disinterested, or too busy to focus on the caller, we have potentially just lost business for our client. That is why I instill the importance of basic manners and courtesy to the call center agents. Just as the waitress in the restaurant was amazed at how polite and courteous my husband and I were, I want all of our callers to feel the same. I want them to hang up having had a genuinely great experience and a positive impression of the company that they just contacted.
Manners and respect can go a long way. We’ve all had to deal with rude and demanding people in our lives. There is no better way to deal with them than with respect and politeness. The old saying “Kill them with kindness” still rings true. Refer to the person by name, be sincere, and treat them how you would like to be treated, even in the toughest of situations. Being courteous and using proper manners not only shows respect for others, it shows respect for yourself.
Jennifer McGlothlin proactively monitors and reviews customer interactions for Ambs Call Center‘s client services team.