November 21, 2013

In-Person Manners Matter Too – Especially For Small Business Owners!

social media etiquette Yesterday we talked about social media manners and while that gets a lot of air time on the internet these days, it’s easy to forget that real, interpersonal manners matter too.  In fact, they can matter a whole lot more!

Have you ever had a bad customer service experience that soured you on a particular store or business?  Just the other week I was yelled at by a caterer who was convinced I was parked in his spot in a public parking lot (I had purposefully  not parked in any spots that had signs indicating they were for specific businesses that I wasn’t visiting – this spot was open and unmarked).  Whether or not he was right, it struck me as bad business sense to march out of his office – where his company name is prominently on the door – dressed in his chef’s coat which also had his company logo emblazoned on it, and proceed to yell at me.  For all he knew, I could have been in the market for a caterer for an upcoming business event.   Despite the fact that I’ve never tasted his food or worked with this caterer on an event, do you think I’ll ever consider calling that company in the future?  Do you think I’ll recommend that caterer to my friends and business associates?  That’s a lot of potential lost business for that caterer.

My sister owns a retail store and she often reminds me that as a business owner she has to be cognizant that she is the face behind her business.  She can’t simply roll out of bed and dash into the grocery store with torn pj’s and Uggs because that look doesn’t fit with what the community expects of her and of her company brand.  Even when she’s out shopping at other retailers, she knows she has to be polite and respectful in all of her interactions because one cross word can ricochet around town quicker than a viral YouTube video on the internet.

We spend so much time worrying about the big things in our business, like ensuring we have production capacity and making sure our marketing plans are bringing in sales, but sometimes it’s the little interpersonal things that can do the most damage to our business simply because we’re not paying attention.

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2 comments on “In-Person Manners Matter Too – Especially For Small Business Owners!

  • Thembi on said:

    I try and remind people that face to face matters. In a world where so many people only communicate through text, Facebook, twitter etc, it’s almost comical to see their expressions when I bring up face to face communication skills and how important they are.

    • smallfoodbiz on said:

      Very true – I think face to face is becoming even more critical in light of all of that. In fact, it’s one reason I’m falling in love with Skype as it allows me to communicate ‘face to face’ even when we’re hundreds of miles apart. Course the only downside of Skype is that it means I have to look presentable for the call. 😉