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Forgotten Business Etiquette: Chivalry isn’t Dead Yet

Muffins at a BakeryWhether you’re a one-man show or the CEO of a booming company, great customer service is vital. You may think you’ve implemented a strong training program for new employees. Maybe you even hung a few inspirational posters in the break room. But have you let any business practices fall through the cracks? Here are a few to consider:

Respect the (Area) Codes

As a Pennsylvania native, I still have an East Coast area code. But, having lived in Indiana for about six years, I’ve noticed a peculiar trend with some local businesses. When I call to ask about hours or sales, the typical employee answers with a guarded tone—wary of a ‘foreign’ phone number. Remind your employees to answer phone calls with a smile no matter the area code. Seems like a no-brainer, right?

Announce Sudden (or Planned) Changes

Many businesses forget to announce changes that affect customers. Even small things—like closing early on a Wednesday—should be communicated appropriately. Leave a note on the door, explaining that you will be back for normal business hours tomorrow. If you’re planning renovations in the near future, publicize it in some way. Then, prepare to respond with kindness to customers who are out of the loop.

Ditch Credit Card Minimums—or at Least Display Them

What’s worse than stopping for a muffin on your way to work, only to be told you must spend another four dollars to meet the credit card minimum? Do your customers—and your reputation—a favor: Lose the credit card minimum! If you’re not there yet, at least post the minimum purchase clearly so customers have time to decide before they’ve already taken the first bite.

Arm Your Employees with Helpful Materials

Think that new second-shift sales rep isn’t worth another batch of business cards? Think again. Training is useful, but make sure your staff can easily access company resources and publications. This not only instills your vision and values among employees, but also helps them be more confident in conversation with clients and the general public. Equip them with business cards, brochures, coupons, or other materials that will incite the average customer take the next step. Teach them to be courteous and helpful.

This only scratches the surface of forgotten business etiquette. How does your company avoid these unpleasant situations?

Crystal Horner

Crystal Horner holds a B.S. in Communications and Graphic Design, as well as years of business experience. She’s written and designed for many organizations—from insurance agencies and arts festivals to rehabilitation centers and school corporations. She enjoys helping people share their stories, reach their goals, and be their best.

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