Did courtesy disappear with the twentieth century? It may not be gone, but it is certainly not as common as before. Courtesy is polite and considerate behavior or actions. Our world moves at a fast pace with many distractions. Responding to people with gratitude, empathy, and consideration for them takes time and effort. It simply easier to zip through life without slowing down to say, “please”, “thank you”, “how are you?”, and “what may I do to help?”
In the social media world, responding to people with gratitude can reap unexpected results. One of my first experiences with Twitter in 2008 left me scratching my head and wondering, “Did a time machine take me back to middle school?” An active participant chose to follow me. I was very surprised and grateful so I sent a direct message to express my appreciation. I was truly honored that she had chosen to include me in her stream.
The Twitter Queen started a public rant immediately following my message. She talked about how inconvenient it was to receive a direct message saying “thank you”. She shared her opinion about how people who didn’t know the rules should not be allowed to participate. Before long, several others sharing the same opinion joined the conversation. Being tarred and feathered for saying “thank you” was completely unexpected.
Of course that was before I knew that many of the active participants were following people for the follow back. They were building the illusion of expertise one follower at a time. Rules for participation didn’t exist. People were making them up as they went. There was much more snark than kindness. Unfortunately, that attitude has expanded beyond social media into everyday life.
Companies seeking more sales and greater profits penalize employees for engaging in small talk with customers. The savings from productivity gains is expected to benefit the business. But, what about the lost opportunity to solidify the customer’s relationship with the company?
Saying “thank you” remains a part of company processes. Some have altered it to “thank you, here’s something else you can buy” to increase sales. The strategy effectively increases sales but there is a cost. Customers don’t feel the love. Creating good relationships requires genuine customer appreciation.
There is good news for companies willing to go against the current trend. Making courtesy a part of the corporate culture differentiates your company from the competition. It also improves employee morale. If you have a physical location, the improved atmosphere makes people want to stay longer and come back more often.
While we are on the subject of gratitude…
Thank you for reading and sharing my posts. I know you are busy. Your decision to spend time with me is much appreciated. Have a great day!