…You deserve nothing less from your customers

I never wanted others to think I was a jerk. Being an average kid, I spent my share of time in the company of other jerks. I hated how they acted and many of the things they said. I was NOT going to be like them!

common decency

Then my 20’s came and it was full steam ahead into the dating years. Can’t be a jerk then either. Be a jerk, no girl. Not a jerk, yes, a girl…

Then I grew up…

As some point in our lives we realize that we need to grow up and be an adult. Of course we never have to lose our playfulness or child-like wonder and curiosity. But society expects much from us and we must deliver.

Then, as Malcolm Gladwell states in his book “Outliers: The Story of Success”, we spend the next 10,000 hours to master a skill so we may be the best in our industry. Our career is full steam ahead.

We’ve waited for this moment, this exact time, and place, so we may show what we have learned and who we are. Then it happens…

You come across an unreasonable and inconsiderate customer hell-bent on trying to dominate you by their incessant requests for things that are not possible.

“I want a reservation this Saturday at 8pm, I don’t care what you have to do, just make it happen”.

“Look, I pay your salary and you’re going to do what I tell you”.

“I’m spending more on this ____________ than you make in a year, go get it now!”

Nasty condescending attitudes like these are specifically designed to show dominance over you and have no place in the business world. People that speak this way are jerks!

“But he’s the customer, aren’t they always right? Well, sometimes!

Common decency states that you must enter into an arrangement where each party is willing to give something of value in order to get something of value.

We willingly part with our money when we believe the item we purchase (receive) has a value higher than the money we pay for it. If not, the money stays in our wallet.

But how we go about this is where the common decency comes in?

Here are 3 quotes to ponder:

Morals are private. Decency is public.

—Rita Mae Brown

Achievements on the golf course are not what matters, decency and honesty are what matter.

—Tiger Woods

Each person has inside a basic decency and goodness. If he listens to it and acts on it, he is giving a great deal of what it is the world needs most. It is not complicated but it takes courage. It takes courage for a person to listen to his own goodness and act on it.

—Pablo Casals

Yes, please, no thank you, strong eye contact, keep your word, a solid handshake, help those less fortunate, assist the elderly, open the door for a woman, “do what is right”, etc. These are the basic tenants of society. These are acceptable ways to show kindness and respect towards your fellow man.

But how can this happen when you have a customer who has no consideration for you.

We have little control, at first, when confronted by a bore wishing to feed his own ego or artificially enlarge his perceived inner circle stature. How we act towards those trying to belittle us will set the stage for all future interactions.

You and I are professionals. We deal with others in a professional manner. This is not the schoolyard where the loudmouth gets his way nor should we ever allow it to be.

The customer doesn’t understand the constraints we must work under. He can’t know our challenges or deficiencies, nor should he. He doesn’t care about our needs, only his. And that’s fine.

Once we make a decision to accept these parameters our daily goal must be to provide the business climate where common decency is actually “common”. There won’t be a need to worry about it or hope we get it.

  • Your word must be your action.
  • Your advertising must be true and accurate.
  • Your smile must be your welcome sign.
  • You must “do what is right”.

These are the minimum operational expectations of a business that uses common decency. We can’t expect it from our customers if we don’t practice it ourselves.

Image courtesy of thinktheology.org/2016/02/18/would-jesus-throw-a-punch-at-a-schoolyard-bully/