As businesses re-evaluate their approach to customer service and what has changed for consumers and ways of doing business, perhaps turning back the clock, and dialing up the good old-fashioned manners is the first step for everyone to re-evaluate in their people.
Undoubtedly, we all understand that there are different preferences in generations when it comes to how they want to be served. Each of us have different comfort levels with technology, and we need to keep that in mind when establishing our channels of communication to customers.
Boomers prefer traditional face to face service, Gen X’s read more reviews before deciding to buy a product and they also want to see the real value behind what they buy. Millennials want you to get to the point and be as clear as possible, and Gen Z’s are notorious for their lack of brand loyalty. However, what is equally important first and foremost is that regardless of our age and preferences, we all want to be seen, heard and feel cared for, and so there is an argument that old fashioned manners have never been out of date.
Here are what I see as the top 5 old fashioned manners that when presented in a customer service environment in modern day society, create the best service interactions.
1. Be Punctual
Being on time has never gone out of style – I don’t care how old you are. Being fashionably late is plain rude in my opinion – there is nothing fashionable about it.
If you are meeting a customer, promising an opening time for your business, or even promising a response time for online solutions, being late for any of those appointments is considered a deal breaker for many customers.
2. Avoid Pointing the Finger and Private Conversations in Front of Customers
This gesture throughout society has evolved into serving as an assignment of blame or accusation, making the target of the pointed finger suddenly reduced to an object. If a customer noticed you pointing, most people will almost instinctually assume it is not for a positive reason.
Even as forms of communication have evolved, pointing continues to signal disrespect. As for private conversations, when employees engage in private internal shenanigans in front of customers, it makes them feel excluded, so save those topics until you and the person it concerns are alone.
3. Make Eye Contact When Greeting or Being Introduced
Making eye contact when interacting with customers has long been a way to establish and maintain a level of trust during conversation and, a sign of confidence on the part of the person maintaining eye contact.
Maintaining eye contact also helps people serving customers maintain attention and stay present in the conversation. Fail to make strong eye contact, and, as was also true centuries ago, you’re likely to be viewed as shifty, untrustworthy, or unsure of yourself.
4. Dress to Impress Your Customers
Working from home and casual office days has assisted in blurring the lines a little about what is regarded as formal and casual dress.
Whilst it is less common to see people dressed in suits and ties when serving customers, there is still a level of professionalism required in dress standards and giving the customer a sense that you’ve put in the time and thought about your appearance.
5. Send Letters to Your Customers
What once was the sole way for people to communicate with one another across distances has now become far less common, thanks to the speed and convenience of email and text. But that is what makes the act of sending a letter such a special and still-appreciated gesture.
Letter writing has greater emotional resonance because it takes more time and thought than an email or text message. But it also has more relevance, as “letters are being used by some organizations to validate certain contracts and transactions,” thank you letters also.