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Employee Etiquette

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Dear Ms. Etiquette,
I am a manager at a retail store and had an incident the other day with one of my subordinates that I don’t quite know how to solve. I was trying to tell her that we needed to be more customer friendly and acknowledge the customer as soon as they walk in. I thought I was very explicit but all I got back were denials and finger pointing at other employees. I don’t know how I can be more clear and how I can get the point across. Do you have any ideas? – JD

Dear JD,
You obviously have a good eye when it comes to pleasing the customer but talking to your staff can be tricky. Good managers need to be good communicators which require some care and skill. Here are some good tips taken from The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Business Etiquette by Mary Mitchell with John Corr.

1. Praise in public; criticize in private.

2. Show respect for ideas and contributions. Thank the staff, in public if possible. Write a personal note of appreciation.

3. Foster the team concept. Your staff represents you to the company, your customers, and clients.

4. When giving instructions, have staff members restate what they heard. Asking “Do you understand?” will get you a nod, whether they understand or not. Better is, “I want to make sure I was clear about that. Would you mind reading back to me what I’ve asked you to do?”

5. Deal in observable fact and observable behavior. The statement “We’re losing customers because you’re not interested in serving them” will get you an “Am too” type of response. Better is: “I noticed that the last customer stood at the counter five minutes before he was served. We need to serve all customers in one minute.” Also deliver such comments in the same tone of voice you would use to say, “It’s raining outside.”

6. If explaining something and the other person is “just not getting it,” it doesn’t help to simply repeat what you said more slowly. Try a whole new approach.

Irma Wolcott

Irma Wolcott

Irma Wolcott is the owner of Fun With Etiquette. Call her at 956-492-4762 for more information. Website: www.funwithetiquette.com e-Mail her at: funwithetiquette@aol.com

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