A Common Courtesy Plan for Increased Business Revenue

By Pamela Chatry

I’m fed up! I am tired of rude people, rude drivers and general rudeness in our world. Whatever happened to common courtesy and manners?

Now, let’s make this societal ‘rudeness’ issue a business planning issue. Do you, the business owner, know how much money is being left on the table and customers lost, because you, the business owner or your employee is perceived as rude or impolite? Is common courtesy a lost art form in your business? Do you know if your inquiries and customers are receiving enough thank-you’s or you’re welcome’s? Are calls being returned in a timely manner? Is there enough public or private acknowledgement for work produced? Are people being ignored?

Here’s a story to demonstrate the lack of common courtesy in business. Not long ago, I reached out to fifteen business owners to continue carrying on discussions that we had initiated together, to arrange for further contact, or to refer them onto services that they had indicated they needed. Out of the fifteen, only two acknowledged me and responded in a timely manner! Frustrated? You bet. Each of those communications had taken time and ‘big girl’ wages to produce. Remember, I wasn’t selling them anything and, in all likelihood, this contact could also have brought them direct financial results. However, it was firstly about plain old-fashioned person-to-person relationship building and the creation of business champions.

Do you think I will now refer those who didn’t respond? Never! I consider them rude and unworthy of my recommendation.

We keep hearing that people are too busy, that we need to personalise communication the way people demand, with choices such as texting versus phone or email. However, in my opinion, the biggest issue is what I refer to as, “Selective Prioritisation”. “Selective Prioritisation” is defined as giving first response to those who scream the loudest or can give us instant gratification. We are all guilty of it. If we see an email that asks for a quote on a product, we choose to respond to it immediately because we don’t want to leave money on the table. However, when an email arrives, and that person wants to set up a call to discuss possible business opportunities, chances are we never get back to them. The call has been moved down the list of priorities, as there is no immediate benefit or gratification.

So, do you want your business to stand out and increase revenue? Have you ever heard of a Customer Service Plan? How about developing a ‘Common Courtesy’ Plan?

Here’s five strategies to help you design one:

  1. Commit to saying ‘thank you’ to everything.  It doesn’t need to be done in person.  It can be a card, a call, an email, a text.  Just express gratitude.
  2. Acknowledge every email, every call, every text and do it in a timely manner.  Remember you don’t have to take action upon the request. You only have to recognise the person’s effort and not ignore them.  If you have time to post on Facebook, you have time to respond to an email.
  3. Create a gratitude campaign and attach time frames on it.  If they purchase from you or refer you to someone, what is the first gratitude step? 2nd Step? 3rd Step? What is the gift? Who is responsible for the actions?
  4. Design company ‘Gratitude’ scripts. Don’t assume that every employee knows how to say thank you.
  5. Develop a company policy that eliminates ‘Selective Prioritising’. Teach your people to recognise that every inquiry, every human contact, has the possibility of being a revenue generation opportunity. Perhaps not right away, but at some time. Patience and appreciation will pay off.

Building a successful business is all about building referral champions. If people are treated with courtesy, appreciation and gratitude, they will remember. It is what will help your business to stand out in a positive light in a very rude world.