Whether you’re doing business online, in-person or both, what you do both professionally and personally is a reflection on your business. I remember growing up, that there were certain kids in the neighborhood that my parents would not let us play with. We always thought it was totally unfair and that our parents were prejudiced (not sure if we were old enough to even understand what that meant). I remember my grandmother saying something about “guilt by association”. Being the rules-person that I am, I listened but it wasn’t until I was an adult with children of my own that I started to truly understand. Then I became a business owner and other small business owners and entrepreneurs were telling me that everything you do is either a relationship builder or a relationship destroyer. That’s when it started hitting home and I started paying attention.
It’s true that there are certain people we’d rather do business with. We can buy the same newspaper and bottle of milk at any convenience store but if you’re like me, you have a favorite place to shop. Sure, it may be convenient but lots of times there’s someone there that you like. Maybe it’s the business owner who let you pay for your items the next time you were there (when you made a purchase and had forgotten your wallet). Maybe it’s because the clerks are always polite and friendly. For the same reason, I know there are stores I avoid almost completely because someone there was grumpy or rude.
So, don’t the same rules apply on the Internet? If you don’t promptly answer an email from a client, isn’t it pretty much the same as the clerk behind the counter who totally ignores you? If you leave a comment online that comes across as rude or pompous, is it any different from the store clerk who looks down at you as if you appear not to be able to afford their product. (This actually happened to me once in a jewelry store and I’ve never set foot in the place again.)
Here is a very short list of things I see people doing online that I believe is a poor reflection on them:
- Irrelevant comments on online discussions where the only purpose is self-promotion
- Leaving hurtful comments on blogs
- Posting unprofessional pics and video on Facebook, YouTube, MySpace…. etc.
I actually went on today’s rant over something that didn’t happen online at all. It happened while I was driving and a delivery truck cut me off. This truck prominently displayed the florist shop’s brand. It had their name, 800# and URL. I didn’t want to order flowers! I wanted to call them and complain! I didn’t call because I did cool off but I did think poor advertising and relationship destroyer. Little thing but it certainly didn’t cast the store in a very good light.
We’re all in this together and I truly believe that in most cases, this bad behavior is unintentional. I’m sure I’ve innocently offended someone along the line and to this day I probably don’t have any idea that I did. What have you observed that was off-putting to you? What else can you add to my list? What other relationship destroyers can you think of?