Please, Thank you & Pardon Me!

Many ideas came to mind as my turn to write a blog approached. I was finally able to put pen to paper after some interesting conversations and observations about politeness – a topic I am passionate about. Politeness, good manners, social skills, call it what you will but they seem to be lacking in many interactions, both in-person and via our technological gadgets.

As I researched this topic, I was astounded at the amount of information being written about politeness and civility. I have always been a strong advocate for politeness and am amazed at its increasing rarity. For my generation, good manners were expected; bad manners were not tolerated. We were taught that it’s not difficult to say “please”, “thank you”, “excuse me”- in other words, demonstrate consideration and show respect for fellow human beings at all times.

In business, being polite is rule #1 to good customer service. Saying hello, smiling, making eye contact are a sure route to building relationships with potential clients. In addition, being authentic and providing full responses shows that you are present and employing active listening. These simple courtesies can go a very long way in building customer loyalty, which ultimately impacts your bottom line.

Good manners shouldn’t stop with your clients. Benjamin Schneider of the University of Maryland notes “There’s a remarkably close and consistent link between how internal customers are treated and how external customers perceive the quality of your organization’s services. A commitment to serve internal customers invariably shows itself to external customers. It’s almost impossible to provide good external service if your organization is not providing good internal service.” Learn more about developing outstanding internal customer service on this blog.

The 2013 Harvard Business Review Article, The Price of Incivility, noted that rudeness at work is rampant, rising and taking a toll on the bottom line. Among the many outcomes of incivility are employee turnover, diminished employee effort and inferior productivity, suffering creativity, and damage to customer relationships.

Last Spring we delivered an informative six-part series called Executive Finishing School. Winnipeg’s own Lew Bayer of Civility Experts Worldwide created the series and delivered it at the Centre to help entrepreneurs, executives and managers acquire the skills to enhance their social competence. These interactive sessions covered topics that ranged from exhibiting key executive competencies and communicating confidence, to becoming a polished professional with a clear vision. The goal was to provide participants with the tools to professionally conduct themselves in any situation. Stay tuned, we’re looking at delivering the series again early in 2016.

– Janis Lesko