HAS RUDENESS BECOME THE NEW NORMAL?

Wendy Lalli Water Cooler

Recently I’ve had the same conversation with different friends about the rude treatment they’ve received from potential clients, recruiters and even networking contacts. Even though the circumstances of their interactions were very different, the result was the same – they were treated with rudeness for no reason.

Here’s an example.

My friend Dick is an outstanding art director and marketing strategist who has his own boutique ad agency. Recently one of his clients introduced him to the head of marketing of a large national credit union, recommending that they use him for a rebranding project. Dick is legendary for his work on behalf of financial clients and was excited about the chance to pitch his services to this company. He met with three of the decision makers in the marketing department and was asked to prepare and present some suggestions on how they might revamp their brand. Dick and his team worked up several concepts over the weekend and he presented them to great acclaim to the trio first thing Monday morning. After thanking Dick for the work, they told him they’d definitely be in touch no later than Thursday.

rudeness_weakDespite the success of the presentation, Dick’s expectations were low. Given the complexity and scope of the project, he realized that the client probably needed an ad agency with offices nationwide. Still, he hoped they would use him as a consultant or consider his agency for other projects. When a week had passed with no word, he called his original contact at the credit union to find out what was going on. The contact told Dick they were very impressed with his ideas but had decided to go in another direction.

Okay. We all understand that just because someone is super talented, spends days and a couple of hundred dollars preparing a presentation, a client is not obligated to give them their business. However, it seems to me there is an obligation to tell someone of your decision when you’ve promised to do so. Yet Dick was sure (and I believe him) that he’d never have learned about their decision if he hadn’t called himself.

How about this one?

Manners and Kindness signA former colleague, now job hunting, asked me to introduce her to a hiring manager I knew. I did so. Then she asked me to write a reference for her. I did so. A week later I got a notice on my LinkedIn home page that she had updated her profile to include the job. What I didn’t get was an email or phone call from this person letting me know the results of my efforts, let alone an expression of thanks for my help.

Job hunters themselves are often on the receiving end of rude and inconsiderate behavior from both recruiters and interviewers. In fact, after an interview, unless a job offer is made, you almost never hear back from them. Sometimes, if the company has a decently run HR department, candidates will get an emailed form letter telling them that the company has decided to hire someone else. (Rejection, in this case, is a POSITIVE reaction!)

I suppose you could call all of these instances cases where people simply didn’t act well versus examples of people insulting others. But here’s the thing – when you ignore someone who has invested time, effort and often money in preparing for a meeting or an interview – you ARE insulting them!

Why am I blogging about this in a space devoted to advice on how to help your business?

Here’s why. Rude, inconsiderate behavior is habit-forming and highly contagious. Moreover, ultimately it is very bad for business. Although many people, like my friend Dick, have come to expect rude behavior, it still diminishes our self-esteem and makes us feel angry toward the source of our discomfort.

If you want to deal with a company where rudeness is NOT the norm, contact Crux Creative.

We’ll do everything we can to help you – for your sake and the sake of our own brand. After all, it’s in our best interest to turn everyone we deal with into advocates for our brand by treating them with consideration and respect. Being nice isn’t a form of weakness. It’s a no-cost way to spread the word that you’re one of the good guys and dealing with your company is a positive experience for customers, employees and vendors.