Friday, February 22, 2013

Presenting an Image

Have you ever interacted with someone who represents a business and had them be rude?  Not only rude, but intentionally mean-spirited?  I just had that happen to me today, and quite frankly, I don't understand it. 

I requested information from someone, the circumstances aren't important, and got an e-mail back that completely shocked me into open-jawed surprise.  That was quickly followed by fury, which I supressed long enough to send a polite reply back ending the conversation. 

The tone and words that were used in the e-mail were extremely insulting, and it frustrates me.  If anyone who worked for me ever replied to a simple request for information in such a manner, there would be a Come to Lys talk in the offing.  Even if the request were something that the recipient felt was outside of their duties or overly demanding, it is incumbent upon any representative of a business to present themselves in a professional manner. 

I do not feel that my request was over the top.  As a matter of fact, had the reply been put in more polite terms, I would probably have been quite happy to discuss the terms of further business which would have resulted in me giving said company money.  But as it stands right now, not only will they not get my money at this juncture, they will never get business from myself or my company.  Nor will I ever encourage anyone I know to do business with this particular branch of the company, at least until the person in question is no longer responsible for dealing with potential customers.  I won't bad-mouth them or spread the details of the incident because that is between myself and them, but I will not go out of my way to do anything positive for them either.

So, folks, remember this when you're having a bad day at work.  Yes, it is easy to slip and take it out on the person who calls or e-mails with just one more question than you can handle for the day, but stop and think before you do so.  You aren't just representing yourself, you are representing your company.  You don't know who the person is that you are talking to, and you don't know who they may know or do business with.  Word of mouth is an amazing and horrible thing.  If you do things right, it can get you a lot of business that you might not have gotten otherwise.  If you do things wrong, it can hurt you in the end.

You also don't know what the other person is dealing with in their day already.  If they are having a good day, well, you just killed that.  If they are already having a bad day, you have just made it worse.  Is that really the kind of effect that you want to have on other people?  Is it the kind of reputation that you want to achieve?  Personally, I want people to be comfortable contacting me, knowing that if I CAN help, I will, and if I can't I will let them know in a reasonable and polite manner as to why and what, exactly, I can do instead.

I am going to try to let this go now, because it isn't worth the anger that it has caused.  But the disappointment will remain with me and color any future interactions I have with this particular company.  Since there is a history pre-dating this incident, that will be a hard thing, but since I am now aware of how things stand, I can gauge future interactions accordingly.

Remember, it just isn't worth a moment of irritation.  The consequences may be further reaching than you realize.  Even if they aren't, and it is just confined to one person, is that really how you want others thinking of you?  Really?

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