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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Whatever Happened to Professionalism??

Oh, what a pet peeve this is for me. I know that we are now a more "casual" society these days, but even in the midst of that, one thing should remain the same; performing the duties of your job in the manner in which they are supposed to be performed. I can't help but to notice that this one simple concept is lacking in so many people lately in businesses all across the board. There really need to be classes in business and service etiquette, because more and more people these days just don't seem to have it. I'm sick of trying to do business with people who don't know how to be professional.

First of all, when someone walks into your store, office, restaurant, etc, greet them. Yes! That is part of your job to greet the customer! OMG, who knew? I can't tell you how many times I've walked into a store or business, and the person in charge or behind the counter either ignores you, looks up and just waits for you to speak, or flips their head indicating "what?". God forbid they actually say "Hello" or "How can I help you?" This nonchalant, "so what, you're here" attitude is something I'm seeing more and more often lately when I go to shop or get service somewhere. You want my repeat business, you'd better be a bit more welcoming and professional when I come into your store. Why is that so hard?

Secondly, please don't greet me as "Hey", "Yo", or "What's up". Are we BFF's and nobody bothered to inform me of it? Are we 'homies' that were just hanging out on the street corner together drinking a 40 last night? I swear, I've never seen you before! What is this "Yo"? Or "Hey". We are not at some party! This is a business!!

I walked into a sewing machine store some months ago, and upon my walking in to purchase a machine (I was so ready to buy!), the proprietor of the store looks up from the counter and says "Wassup!", all casual and laid back like I'm somebody he is super familiar with and maybe even dated in the past. He looked to be about late forties/early fifties, white male, by the way. I'm like "what???". I said to him "do you greet all of your customers with "Wassup?" How about "Hello, how can I help you?" He goes "what's your problem, you uptight or something?" I'm like, "Nope. No problem at all, because I'm not going to be doing any business with you. You just lost a sale!". I turned on my heel and walked out. I then went home, got on the internet and ordered myself a really nice sewing machine on Ebay. The nerve! What was he, smoking weed?? The unprofessionalism of some people astonishes me! "Wassup, indeed!"

My favorite is the guy that burped into my ear on the phone while taking my food order. Here I am ordering a mini pizza from one of my favorite neighborhood restaurants, busy telling the guy on the phone what I want on it and suddenly this loud "BBUUUURRRRRRPP!!" erupts out of nowhere from the other end of the line. Without missing a beat and without saying the least bit of an "excuse me", the guy just continues on "that's pepperoni you want on it, right?" I actually couldn't answer him for a couple secs, I was so shocked. I was about to get a bit belligerent and tell him how rude I thought he was, but then I remembered; don't ever piss off anybody that is going to handle or serve you your food. He's not the cook, but he's going to bag it up. I decided to stay cool so my food didn't end up with any little "surprises" on or in it, you know? But wow, what a NERVE, huh? It's a wonder I kept my appetite. After that little incident, I refuse to order from the place when that guy is taking orders. If he picks up when I call, I just hang up on him. I call back until one of the other order takers answers. Kinda feels good to do that to him, lol.

Imagine having a customer service rep, or any business person just belch in your ear and not even excuse themselves. Yow! People just have no boundaries whatsoever these days!!

I have a million other stories of where I've dealt with severe unprofessionalism, but I will stop here. If I told even half of them, this post would take days!!! What's the worst unprofessional pet peeve of yours? With me, not being greeted or being greeted inappropriately ticks me off. I also don't like it when they don't say "thank you" at the end of the sale, especially if it's at a small business. I'm helping you pay your bills...you'd better thank me! lol. Another thing I hate is when someone that's supposed to be giving you service is texting or playing around with their little device and they don't stop immediately when you come up to ask for something. I walked into a store recently, and the girl behind the counter finished her texting for a good 30 seconds before finally acknowledging me and saying "Can I help you?". Well, damn, at least she got the second part right! ;)

I know I'm definitely a Diva on all of this, but years ago when I had my very first jobs as a receptionist, cashier, and waitress, I was trained to treat all customers like kings, and I did! The type of customer service that I gave when I did these jobs is something I hardly ever see these days.

I swear, I need to give a class! ;)

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Sheila Sultani said...

It does seem like people don't have any manners these days. I really hate how people don't appreciate business. I bet when you told that sewing machine guy he just lost a sale he probably acted like he didn't care. I hate that - if I spend my hard earned money on your business I kind of feel like it should be appreciated.

janaes jewels said...

Diva...I am so totally with you on this.

My biggest pet peeve is not being acknowledged when I walk into a place of business. A sweet little breakfast spot that we frequented every Saturday for about 10 yrs had a huge turnover in their waitstaff. As regular customers, to walk in the door and have the staff look up, and then down again without so much as a "wait a minute" gesture or hello was enough for us to find another cozy spot to spend our weekend morning.
Professionalism is called for in every walk of life - no matter what job you do. To succeed in life is to be the very best at whatever menial job you take on (and I've done plenty of them). That's the way to move up the ladder - with confidence and grace.
Thanks for bringing up a topic near and dear to me!


David Funk said...

The Fitness Diva has spoken! I couldn't agree with you more on this.

You definitely are correct on all points especially about the greetings.

Proper communication between customers, businesses, and employees in general continues declining, too.

Oh, I think you would be the perfect instructor for a professionalism class!

If people want to be respected, they need to give it first. Give respect, get respect!

Great post, Fitness Diva!

Paul said...

Amen! It must be due to the overpopulation of this country, especially on the East Coast. If you turn and walk out the door of any business without buying anything, someone who does not care about how they are treated will replace your money in a few minutes.

The difference in the way you are treated at an airport like JFK, and the airport in Munich (for example), is like being in two different worlds, not countries.

The Fitness Diva said...

Sheila, I was so mad that I did go and spend my money elsewhere in a second. This was one of the small businesses in my neighborhood, and in this economy, all businesses, especially the small Mom and Pop ones need to do what they can to cultivate new customers and keep old ones. His loss big time! ;)

Janae, I hear ya. I don't like that either... it's so rude. Always acknowledge a customer when he/she walks in. You never know when your well might start to run dry, and in those times, the way you treat your customers can be what causes you to either sink or swim. And look, you were regulars there, and now they lose out on that. Gotta be smart, and if your people don't know how to behave properly, then train them. Your employees reflect your business and also affect your bottom line.

The Fitness Diva said...

David, if I taught such a class, I would turn my students into some of the best 5 star service providers EVER! lol
I simply think of how I want to be treated in these situations. That's really all it takes. More service people should keep that one thing in mind -- how would YOU want to be treated?

Paul, you are so right. Here in the monster metropolis of New York City, some of our daily dealings can be a bit rough and brusque. However, there is always room for a little manners. When I'm visiting family in North Carolina and other parts south, I experience the exact opposite -- customer service and kindness up the yin yang! People are so nice and helpful that it's shocking to me at first! lol!

The sewing machine store I was in was a small business in my neighborhood, and trust me, he has to sit there and wait a long time for $$$$ to come walking in. Sewing machines are not so much of a "demand" item that they just fly off the shelves. I expect that he also stays afloat by doing a lot of machine repairs, another thing he misses out on by losing my business because I have 3 other sewing machines. I was in the clothing business before fitness, and you always end up needing your machines tuned up and given a little maintenance after extensive use. I would absolutely have been a repeat customer, not a one time buyer. Oh, well! His loss, eh?

Manners do count.... don't forget it! ;)

Angeltraveler said...

I totally agree with you and I am in customer service myself.

What annoys me is the way other people in front office/counter jobs dress these days. Not all of them of course, but those who think wearing something skimpy to work is sexy. Low cut tops and short short skirts are for after-hours not business hours.

Robin said...

I work in the hospitality industry and totally agree with your assessment. It seems that too many people who deal with customers (waitresses, cashiers, front desk clerks etc) are there for one reason only - to collect a pay check. What many of these people fail to realize is that it's the customer who pays their salaries. The front desk staff at our hotel are given extensive training in customer relations because they provide the first and often lasting impression of our hotel.

toguints said...

I say, let's vote with our wallet :) The sad part is when you really have to deal with them no matter what.

p.s. thanks for the sidelink for my blog

John @ Family, Fitness and Finances said...

I couldn't agree more with your assessment. AND, Like Sheila said, "if I spend my hard earned money on your business I kind of feel like it should be appreciated." Right on!

"That is part of your job to greet the customer!" - this is a big pet peeve of mine too! My first job was in retail and I was trained by a sixty something "old school" manager. He taught me the value of the customer. The customer is #1. Meet and greet the customer. Without the customers, you won't have a job. AND so on. The current state of "Professionalism" or the lack of it, is very disturbing.

Eli @ Business Sphere said...

I agree. The culture of professionalism is now vanishing in our midst, and the professional is an endangered specie.

Like you when I do business with people, I expect to be treated with courtesy and respect. The customer is king!

To me, to be a professional is to be business-like, and I still hold the following traditional concept about what a professional is or should be:

1. To serve the needs of the customers.

2. To provide good quality products and services that meet customers’ needs and preferences.

3. To deal with the employees fairly and equitably, paying decent wages according to law.

4. To be responsible citizen of the community, contributing to its well-being.

As the philosopher Alfred North Whitehead said, “A great society is a society in which its men of business think greatly of their functions.”

Hire Offshore ASP .Net Programmers said...

Hey this is very tru that "performing the duties of your job in the manner in which they are supposed to be performed" I very much the whole post of yours very much...Thanks for sharing this article...Keep up the good work.

Fitness-Gym said...

Some people do not have manners... Is it our fault? No. We need to stay casual and not follow what others do. Yes it does get a good amount of clientèle, but not in the long run.

Refindyourway said...

With the time goes by the society is losing manners and ethics more and more.. The only thing we can do about that is to do our best and be a positive example. Maybe at least one other person will notice that and try to do something.

ishi said...

i think you're right and i wish 'professionalism' would extend to every service including shops etc where talking and chewing gum and being ignorant to customers is becoming an everyday thing.
Also as a qualified nurse i found that a lot of my colleagues had absolutely no idea how to behave in a professional manner

diyworkouts said...

I always notice and half the time can't stand how stores great you. It seems like there is no in between. It's either nothing or they are all over and in your face. It makes me enjoy good customer service all that much more. I'm also very loyal to it. I want someone that knows how to and can help me in the right way. I make sure to go back when I find someone like that.

Provo Chiropractor said...

Once I went to a doctors office for a checkup and experienced a lot of what you're talking about. I was getting my blood pressure checked and the medical assistant's cell phone rang and she had the gal to answer it and chit chat for a few minutes. It was just a friend calling, I just thought it was super awkward.

Clinic Vorobiev said...

There are always going to be some rude people and we should try and not let them bring our mood down.

I guess we can take some comfort in knowing that we are well brought up individuals.

Custom Labels said...

I was just discussing this with my coworker yesterday. We have been having trouble with people returning our phone calls when we call to ask about their products/services. It's as if they don't WANT their business. You would think that with the economy people would appreciate their jobs and want to keep them. Yet they can't even return a simpe phone call when you CALL THEM INITIALLY?! So frustrating! I feel like in sales anymore, all you have to do is show up and half the people can't even do that.

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