Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Where Did Your Digital Manners Go?

Where did your digital manners go?
People say "common sense is the least common of all senses" and not in vain because it seems that, despite the tremendous advances in technology, we - the users of such technologies - have begun to fall behind and are not moving forward at the same pace.

There are things that should be, as we said in Venezuela, "square", that meaning obvious, do not requiring further explanation, that everyone understands and agrees upon, and that most people take them into consideration.

But the reality is, unfortunately, a different one.

And as always, examples, that I have plenty for such situations: Three weeks ago (maybe more) I sent an email to the programmer of a company with which I was starting a business relationship, to clarify some doubts I had regarding their product catalogue.

Once again I do repeat: I was starting a business relationship with them, that is, I was their customer and they were the vendor. Guess what happened? Days and weeks have gone by and I still do not receive response from the programmer.


Do you want a golden rule? Treat your customers the same way you want them to treat you.


Consequences? I have already made the decision to do business with another company because if this is the way they treat their customers, I cannot imagine how it is going to be down the road of our relationship.

The same thing happens to me on whatsapp: I send messages to people I am doing business with, the time goes by and I do not receive a response. And you know that in whatsapp it is easy to know if the person has read or not your message, because you get the two little blue check marks to confirm it.

Have not you had one of those telephone conversations with sales representatives of any company, in which you feel simply overwhelmed, run over, not even been able to articulate a single word to explain you are not interested in what they offer?

That’s the reason behind today’s post title: Where did your digital manners go? Who told us it was okay to be a rude dude now?

Regardless of the tool, the communication process remains the same and the same rules continue to apply.


Do you remember the”good speaker and good listener’s rules”? Those which stated that we had to listen carefully, not to interrupt the person who was speaking, wait for our turn to talk and use an appropriate tone of voice?

It turns out that now it is normal to skip all those good manners rules.

Now, as we are in a digital environment where we are basically anonymous - people hidden behind the screen of a computer or a mobile phone - then it is valid to skip these rules, be disrespectful, raise the tone of our voices, not to respond to the person who is directly talking to us, and so on. You get the idea.


And as always, I ask myself: Since when is being educated optional?


Especially when we talk about professional relationships. Maybe on a personal level you can do whatever you want, because everyone is free to decide the image they want to transmit to the world, and that's okay. It is your decision, you are free to do it and it is you who will be responsible for the consequences.

But in a professional environment?

Some time ago I was talking on LinkedIn with a colleague who claimed to specialize in "ethical marketing" and when he invited me to his group, I could not keep myself from asking him anything other than: What is it with "ethical" marketing? Is it possible to do "unethical" marketing?

That is, do I have the option to choose whether or not I am an ethical person? ... then, do I have the same option of being an honest or dishonest person, a liar or a sincere person? Are these values ​​really optional?

At this point in my life, I firmly believe those values are not optional and should never be. This kind of behaviour is not acceptable in a professional setting and even less in our relationships with the people we call, or who we should call, "customers".

A battered customer is not only a lost customer but also money you stop receiving.


And again I could accept if you were to tell me that in your personal environment you can do whatever you want, because it's true. I take it. But not in a professional environment and, even less, when you are referring to your customers.

Here is an example to illustrate the point: I had the opportunity to work for a major international corporation which had a "Customer Recovery Department" whose job was to visit each of the customers who had decided to cancel their contracts and do business with another company.

The approaching strategy was very simple: To these customers the company will be  offering their very best prices and additional benefits so that they sign back in, even making better offers than those that were made to get brand new customers.

Does it make sense? I do not think so, and if it does, it does very little sense. Why?

Because a customer who has withdrawn has already made the decision to leave your company and do business with your competition. That is to say he has already gone through all the stages of discontent: he already got upset with your company, and perhaps wanted to give you a second chance, he got annoyed again, then thought about signing with another company and then didn’t, he gave it a try with you again, then became disenchanted of your service one more time and finally decided to leave.


Already the divorce is signed. Your customer signed with another company. What are you going to do now?


It is proven by many formal studies that the cost of recovering this gone customer is much higher than the cost of getting a brand new one, and even higher than the cost of keeping your customers happy.

Is it worth it to treat your customers badly? Treat them in a disrespectful, arrogant, insensitive way?

Do not you realize that by doing so, even by simply allowing your employees to do so, you're doing a very deep damage to your business?

Just think for a moment that a client who has already decided to sign off is a client that hardly returns, so the money you were going to be receiving from him is lost, and almost forever.

I believe a golden rule you should always keep as a north in your business is to always "treat others in the same way you want them to treat you", and I would just add that "if they are your customers, even more so".

Being polite is not optional, nor should it be. It is something that you must take into account in your professional and business relationships.

Being educated is on the core of being professionals, is of good and correct people, of human beings, and an educated and courteous treatment is the minimum one any human being deserves.



Photo credit: Thomas Teufel - View portfolio



Post you will like to read in this blog, related to this topic:
Loyalty and CKCH: When is it that you really lose a customer?
All it took was a bad experience one day with one employee
I already bought your product. Now what?



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