Etiquette is one of the most basic requirements in business, particularly of the service industry. If you want to retain customers and keep their loyalty, it is one of the key measures you should teach to your employees. Who would want to continue conducting business with a seller who is busy talking to a co-worker, and would rather to her than the customer?
Who would want to wait for someone at the end of the phone line who has put you on hold for more than fifteen minutes already? Who would want to pursue business with someone who looks like he just got off the bed?
Rude behavior is definitely something that should not be tolerated, more so for a business setting. But what are the rules for business etiquette? How do you teach it to someone? Read up to find out. Here are some of the common tips and rules.
12 Things you Should Know About Etiquette
- Hierarchy and rank often dictates it. That means, employees should always listen to their superiors, to the high ranking officials, whatever age or gender.
- Giving away business cards with false or old information is poor etiquette. If the things written there are already outdated, the solution is not to cross it out and write over it, but rather to print new business cards.
- The proper one includes proper business wear. Business casual is sometimes allowed, but the definition of business casual is that it is just one level down from business attire. It does not mean you can go wearing your old favorites. The key is to still look professional, but comfortable in it.
- Calling clients using their titles and surnames is the right business etiquette. Even though you have been close friends beyond business, it is still impolite to address them using a first-name basis especially during business functions. Do not even bother to ask for their permission if you can call them by their first name. The right way to do so is the formal way, to address by the title and last name.
- Customers who are really interested in your business will wait patiently on the phone for you as you look for further information that they request from you. However, their patience is not unlimited. Business etiquette also tells you to not keep them waiting too much or else they will start wondering if they really matter to you as a customer.
- Being in the customer service industry, it dictates that you should be generous of your smiles and make constant eye contact with your customers, and not just whenever you feel like it. Also, make sure your smiles are genuine.
- In this digital world, handwritten notes are actually not a no-no, and etiquette does not necessarily ban handwritten stuff. In fact, it can even help your business standout, when everyone else is using typewritten, you can go ahead and make your own handwritten notes.
- When it comes to handshakes in terms of business decisions, etiquette does not dictate whether it is the male or female who should first offer his or her hand. Every man or woman should be prepared to shake hands with whom ever. Hesitating to raise out a hand is not poor etiquette, but rather lack of confidence.
- This is more of a tip. When you are writing an e-mail, fill up the “To” box last. This is to make sure that you proofread and check your email’s content first, and have inserted the necessary attachments, before you finally send the e-mail. That way, it would not be embarrassing if you make a mistake and would have to recall the e-mail.
- Believe it or not, etiquette actually allows for small talk. Small talk is not considered a waste of time if it is relationship-building among peers.
- When you are on the phone, mind that the person on the other line can actually hear if you are doing something else. So focus on the conversation. Do not eat, or drink, or chew on something. It’s not because they cannot see you that you can do whatever you want while on the phone.
- Since most phones nowadays have called ID, it is easy to see if a client is calling, and easy to avoid a call – which you should not do. If however you are in an important meeting, you should turn your phone off and check for messages or calls after the meeting. It is rude to take a call especially in front of your client.
As you can see, some of these business etiquette are basic rules we already know. Employees just have to be reminded from time to time of the right way to act especially when facing clients and customers.