Good manners cost nothing, bad manners cost business. A survey we carried out a little while back revealed that basic business discourtesy and rudeness could be costing companies valuable contracts.
The aim of the survey was to determine if professional good manners (or the lack of them) had an impact on whether a customer won a contract, and the answer was a resounding ‘Yes’.
The majority of companies (76%) that responded to the survey said that rudeness would put them off awarding a contract and that bad manners could cost customers or suppliers an existing piece of work.
Examples of contract killing rudeness include: not checking the spelling of a recipient’s name in a letter or email, or not bothering to find out the name of a contact. One crucial failing that infuriated over 60% of recipients was failing to return phone calls rapidly.
Other examples of corporate rudeness that figure as potential business losers are: being ignored by a receptionist, being held in a telephone queue without anyone coming back to you, and being kept waiting for a meeting without an explanation (59%).
Major grievances also include being continually interrupted during a conversation or feeling that a supplier thinks they know best and who won’t listen to, or follow a brief.
For a number companies surveyed, the greatest business foot fault is where a potential client simply refuses to relay the results of a business pitch. The effort and expense of presenting for a piece of work can be significant and there were instances where some of our respondents simply never hear from a potential client again. This lack of professional courtesy is as frustrating as it is rude.
Not showing even basic good manners in business can cost contracts and inflict long term damage to a company’s reputation.
At a time when the government is keen to promote the social advantages of respect, our survey shows that some businesses could benefit from learning that same simple lesson.