I might be writing this because I’m British and manners were drilled into me at a young age or maybe because I see it more and more and it rubs me the wrong way. It irritates me and I think it’s something that could help a lot of people.
A huge gripe of mine is that people don’t know basic customer etiquette both online and offline.
This might sound harsh to sound so blunt but from a customer perspective, you can ruin or reward a business relationship based on how you act.
If you’ve ever worked in retail or at a restaurant, you’re face to face with your customer. There’s no emails, there’s no social media. You’re talking to them in real time. You are *typically* trained to be polite and courteous.
You wouldn’t ignore someone talking to you face to face if you were assisting them, so why would you let an email sit for two days before you respond? Madness.
Politeness should be your mantra in your business. It goes a long way. Clients want to work with artists that are easy to get along with, who are professional and courteous. It makes you stand out when others may not give them that level of attention.
People that play it fast and loose in their communication can give off a bad vibe to a customer. Lack of responses or heavily delayed responses makes it seem like you don’t care about their project. They will remember that and undoubtedly will become frustrated.
Text is interpreted differently to speech. This is a huge talking point. Before you rush through an email and hit send, think about what you’re saying. Read the words aloud and say ‘If I read this, what would I think?’ I’ve put my foot in my mouth a few times and experience has taught me blunt replies can be misconstrued as you don’t know the emotion behind them.
Communication MUST be kept open when doing a project. I can’t stress that enough. If your client asks you a question, answer it as soon as possible. Don’t let it sit. You may be busy but in today’s world, instant is sometimes not fast enough, so you need to make sure YOU’RE staying on top of your call backs, your emails and your follow ups.
You don’t have to write them an essay (Believe me, us Brits LOVE to pen lengthy letters). However, starting with clear, concise communication is vital; just as if you were writing a cover letter for a prospective job.
The medium will dictate how you respond to people. This is absolutely true. For Facebook, you may write a few lines to a colleague or client. Nothing too lengthy. For Twitter, you have a finite character limit, which can be fantastic for getting straight to the point. In emails, you have some more room but conversations may already be established, so adjust accordingly. Be flexible but when talking to a client or prospective client but keep it cordial and on mission.
Even with more challenging clients, I always take the extra step of asking what THEY need from ME to complete the project. You will find the wheels become greased far more easily if you remind them of why they hired you. If you offered to do A, B and C – why not offer D as well? Prove to them you’re worth the fee.
Make them remember you for all the positive things you’ve provided, so next time, when it comes to hiring for a new project; you’ll be at the top of the pile.
In a world of ever decreasing attention spans and seemingly less care, take that time to stand out. Take that time to make yourself stand out as distinguished, not just mediocre.