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The Business Case Against Being Rude

Recently, I was in the check-out line at a store when the cashier’s cell phone went off.   Imagine my amazement when she actually answered the phone!  Apparently, this is not uncommon.  A friend of mine from my book club told me that she once had a doctor who answered her cell phone (which had a rap ring tone) in the middle of her procedure.  Obviously, she no longer goes to this doctor.

On the other end of the spectrum are those people who refuse to return your calls, texts or e-mail messages in a timely fashion.  By the time they call you back, the opportunity has passed or you’ve forgotten why you called in the first place!

In this day and age of constant contact through technology, it seems business people have forgotten the basics of respectful and courteous behavior.   In her new book, The Power of Respect, Deborah Norville discusses the business case for treating people with respect in the workplace.  According to Ms. Norville, acting in a respectful manner leads to higher sales, lower employee turnover, and less exposure to lawsuits.   http://www.dnorville.com/product/the-power-of-respect-benefit-from-the-most-forgotten-element-of-success-2 

It really does make sense, doesn’t it?  If you treat your customers in a rude and demeaning way, they won’t return.   I can tell you from my experience as an employment lawyer that many lawsuits could have been avoided had the manager better explained her reasons for selecting one employee over another for a promotion or had not belittled the employee in front of his peers.   But, as many grandmothers often say, common sense ain’t common nowadays.  Hopefully, though, individuals and companies will realize that in these economic times, one of the best ways to stand out from the crowd is to provide respectful, courteous service.


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