Rudeness will lose you business

2013

Politeness and professionalism go a LONG way. Rudeness will lose you business. You would think that in today's day and age, people would realize this piece of common sense, but alas, it seems the lessons still need to be taught.

My wife and I are involved in our local Home Owners Association (HOA) Board. In this capacity, various mortgage companies send email asking for info about fees on houses that recently sold in the neighborhood. Every time someone sends an email to the HOA, the system sends back an instant autoreply that says, in effect, 'we received your message, someone will get back to you within 48 hours. If you don't receive a reply within 48 hours, please contact the Webmaster.'

My wife usually handles these messages, and always within the 48 hour window. But this past week, a mere 25 hours after sending in her original request, someone at a local mortgage company sent an ALL CAP and RUDE 'nastygram' demanding her requested information. Then, a few hours later, she had her boss send a nastygram to the Webmaster who in turn sent a hard nudge email to my wife.

Sigh. First the polite stuff. What follows are three age-old axioms that most people know, but apparently some still need to hear:

  1. 1. You get more flies with honey than with vinegar.
  2. 2. Lack of planning on YOUR part does not justify an emergency on MY part.
  3. 3. Your approach determines your response.

Second, although normally I just slide with such ignorance, I've had enough of this BS lately. I'm not going to contact this woman and give her the what for, but I am going to have a long memory. I also know where she works. And, I interact with a lot of people around town who are in her line of work. A simple message from her saying "hey, I'm under a deadline, can you please give me this info as soon as possible?" would have generated a pleasant response from my wife. It would have been a very neutral interaction that might have even generated good feelings, leading me to recommend this particular mortgage company employee to people who might need her services.

But alas, her rudeness has now earned her a reputation that I intend to remember. I won't even have to say anything bad about her, but if someone is talking about her company, all it will take is a facial expression. That will be enough to communicate that this company might not be such a good choice when getting a mortgage. And if someone asks outright, I would be very happy to say that "I strongly recommend you look elsewhere." My ethics will preclude me from explaining why, but I will have no problem telling people to shop somewhere else.

Like I said, politeness and professionalism go a LONG way, and rudeness will lose you business. I imagine that because of this woman's rudeness, she is going to lose some business - and so will her company - and this will happen no matter what I do. If rudeness is the way that company and its employees operate, it won't take long for their reputation to drive people away.

Think about it. One rude email to a simple little HOA is all it took to create a bad reputation.

It's sad that some people haven't learned the meaning of "ripple effects."

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About The Author

Dan Bobinski
Dan Bobinski

Dan Bobinski is a training specialist, author, and an accomplished keynote speaker. He's been providing management and leadership training to Fortune 500 companies as well as smaller, regional concerns for more than 20 years.