One of our principals has a hobby where she likes to blog about city issues, events, and whatever is of interest. With a passion for helping many small businesses who could never afford professional integrated marketing communications, she blogs about many small and independent businesses, as well as issues and events that occur in the city. We were discussing the topic of good manners, good communications and how these attributes seem to be disappearing. She commented that their decline is occasionally evident in some small businesses, as well.
There are times when she will feature a business on her popular personal and anonymous blog. She always contacts the store management to let them know when the piece is posted. Recently she experienced abject indifference, not once, but twice! One business that sells baked goods was outright blasé about the concept of free publicity. Despite also making purchases of their pricey goods, and the bakery being open less than a year, they gave the impression that they really couldn’t care less about the customer returning or being featured in a blog. If this store goes out of business, I don’t think anyone who received similar ‘service’ could go along with the excuse of the new millennium that, “it’s the economy.”
Perhaps the piece de resistance was when a particular small grocer opened up, not coincidentally in the same space that a popular niche grocer had been in business. Our personal blogger gal had featured both businesses. The first business owner was just thrilled to have people want to feature his store, welcomed it with open arms and clearly was pleased with community and social media support. The second store in this location had a Manager, who was affable and pleasant, but when our “girl blogger” sent them a message via their Facebook Page, she heard nothing back. Wondering if they received the message (lack of response is highly unusual), she posted it to their FaceBook Timeline. When she checked later, there were no acknowledgements and the post was deleted.
Some of her friends who are also in IMC suggested that she delete that store’s blog post – if they are so rude that they cannot even acknowledge the post then why encourage rudeness? This small grocer does not have a free standing website so they are depending upon people to find them via Facebook. Because it was clear that she was also a new customer, from our perspective (as a consultancy that provides integrated marketing business strategy services), it is very difficult to wrap our brains around the concept that a simple “thank-you” was so impossible to convey for something free and complementary about their offerings.
Our girl blogger said the people at the store were nice… and that the issue is with the person who manages their Social Media on Facebook. Perhaps they don’t understand the “social” part of “Social Media. This lack of understanding can hurt a business. Fortunately our gal blogger just considers this a case of lack of manners, although we all agreed that a lack of manners on Social Media when representing a business is not a good feature, not at all!
There is an incredible interest in the mid-century genre when it comes to fashion and décor. Perhaps the aspect of manners, grace, and thoughtfulness will return as well. We can only hope. Boorish and bad manners are so out if you want to develop a good customer relationship and a customer experience that your customers will return for, again and again.