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what does respect really mean?

Author Tech
#1 | Posted: 30 Mar 2007 06:21 
mmm. moral dilemma

I would like to ask what does respect really mean?
in relation to customer service. I so often hear "treat people the way you want to be treated", "like you're mother", "just respect people", "Don't be mean or sarcastic" etc
and this goes on!
so what does it mean?

Without looking it up tell me what you think it means in one sentence, I would just like to know what others think?

Here's my thoughts, I would like to here yours, and/or comments

The problem is everybody has a different meaning of respect, so two people faced with the same customer scenario are going to respond differently even though they believe they have respect for the customer.

One might build a great customer relation and the other might fail with the customer walking out ranting and raving so why is this possible?

Could you imagine going on a 2 week holiday after spending 6 months with a customer, and building a relation with them, to the point, where each time you walk in they are happy to pull out a blank cheque. In fact this customer is now a A+ customer. When you return you find out that you're A+ customer will no longer "do business with the company" because the teammate you handed over to, while away — didn't take his shoes off before entering the customer's office.

(now that's a mouth full)

Yet I was never asked to take my shoes off in fact I didn't actually know that was expected so what happened?

Well I believe respecting somebody goes more than how you treat people face to face and/or on the phone etc.

In the above scenario I did actually take my shoes off before entering the customer office, why? As I entered his office I notice a bunch of shoes sitting in a neat row to the left of his door as I entered I removed my shoes and placed them last in the row (end away from the door) and as I did it I didn't make a scene I just did it as I do this with every office I entered.

I took notice of his surrounds, not only that but I was prepared to do anything possible out of the expected quickly and without fuss as long is it is legal and there's no moral implications on my behalf.

In my recovery attempt.
Later I found out he had a shoe habit — each time he left the office he would ware a pair of shoes that "suited" the situation, a pair of shoes to go to lunch, a pair of shoes to meet with person A and pair of shoes to meet with person B etc. because of this it was an on-going internal company joke to take your shoes off to enter his office..... He just though I was filled in on the joke by one of his office girls! And it turned out that he only didn't want to work with my teammate not "the business" (game of Chinese Whispers I think)

It wasn't till then I believe I found the meaning of respect.....
As I headhunted my teammate after coming back from holidays, He explained he had respected the customer "treated him like my mother"(not actually sure if my teammate meant my mother, his mother or the customers) and "the way I expected to be treated" etc I mean I've always said respect customers but never had a problem.....
So I came to realise that I failed my teammate what I should have done is jot down each and every one of my customers I was handing over with a list
A list of all the little things I do out of the expected for each customer
Customer A - take shoes off before entering office
- never take a cigar when offered
- always shake his hand when meeting him but never when leaving
Customer B - Offer to make him a coffee when at his office....
Etc, etc, etc

and as I started writing down my list I started to notice.....
the list is useless unless I jot down why I do these things....so off I go again
Customer A - take shoes off before entering office
I noticed no one walks in with shoes on
- never take a cigar when offered
Once grumbled that he only offers to be nice but prefers no one else smoking his expensive cigars
- always shake his hand when meeting him but never when leaving
first Time I met him I went to shake his hand as I left, he told me that he considers a handshake at the end of a meeting as a "done deal" and as far as he is concerned "no deal is ever done"

Bugger this list is going to be big — I expect a 400page document per customer.. there must be an easier way?

And then the penny dropped......

Everybody around me has a different meaning of respect, all I know I don't treat people like my mother.... Imagine having to make soup for a customer every time I went to their office or ask how their medical problems are going!
And I don't "treat people how I expect to be treated" why? Because I know each person/customer needs to be treated differently.

So I have come to the conclusion that the meaning of respect is
"Treat people the way you know they expect to be treated"
mmm. makes sense to me

So here's the dilemma
If respect it built over a period of time (getting to know the person) because its more than just being nice!
How do we respect somebody we never met before?
Eg, phone conversation, first time customer in a store etc....

Or do we just continue to say respect everybody and actually mean "just be nice"

Author ayaree
#2 | Posted: 1 Apr 2007 14:45 
Tech, it's your old buddy in the North American Eastern Time Zone, Ayaree.

You asked for a one-liner on what respect means in a customer-facing situation. I'll try to sum it up in one line (it takes a frustrated ex-poet with no experience to do this, you know). Here goes:

Respect means showing a customer that you are there to show that you understand his (her) needs and, if you don't understand them yet, you are there to show that you are going to understand them.

Author patilint
#3 | Posted: 2 Apr 2007 08:41 
I think maybe if one understands what "disrespect" is you can better understand respect.
Tech- looking forward to your reply on this.

Author KarenSB
#4 | Posted: 3 Apr 2007 16:15 

Sorry, but I tend to jump to the solution side.

If it were me (take what you want and leave the rest!)...

I would document the extra steps I take and the reasons for them. Why? I'm not immortal nor irreplaceable. If something happens, the information is there for others to carry on. But I would make sure that only those with a need to know, know some of the foibles. In other words, I would take care to make certain that my client's quirks do not become office fodder.

I meet with the co-workers taking over my clients during my absence, and we talk about the current state, whys and whatnots. I would give them the bare-bones: remove shoes, don't shake hands, etc. etc. And let them ask for the reasoning.

When I'll be away from the office I communicate this to my clients, and prepare them with contact information if they need it.

Personally, I don't necessarily see this as a respect issue, but rather, one of observation and processing what is seen. It is obvious to me that you possesses this talent. Not all do. I believe that you are very respectful and that your co-worker is also very respectful.

Finally, and with all due respect, I would also take a look at this particular client. Offering a cigar as a way to make a judgment is rather manipulative. For what it's worth, I'm of the belief that he doesn't really mean to no longer do business with you.

As to respect. I believe there are different reasons to have respect for every person...and there's at least one common reason to have respect for every person. We all are humans, members of the same global tribe if you will. We must respect each other, simply for being human. Then individually, the reasons often vary, and there are often multiple reasons for respecting one individual. I can respect you for having served in the military, for being a professional business person, for being a parent, for overcoming adversity, etc. etc. I think it is quite easy to respect every human with whom I come in contact.

Hope this helps!

Author shudeepc
#5 | Posted: 4 May 2007 05:02 
Respect is being able to look eye to eye, and make the customer feel neither higher nor lower than you. It's a question of perception. Sometimes, a customer is willing to be stepped on (I swear they beg for it); sometimes, they want to be treated like a God (or Goddess). It takes smarts to know 'when needs what'

Author akbrevo
#6 | Posted: 7 May 2007 00:13 
I could understand from this situation that only an attitude of respect towards every person and his need for the product from a platform which is clearly equal to that of customer. Offering respect effectively can be possible only among equals and there is no better style to CRM than this.

The next importance is of making the customer see and feel the attitude of respect emanating from the company offering the product. Long lasting respectful attitude lies in the CRM processes including intensive training of the set of people manning the processes.

Author ogwang
#7 | Posted: 7 May 2007 23:26 
Repect to me is making cutomer feel at home. Its the honour that we give to customer or any one we deal with.Once we do that the customers will always be there for us.

Author rexdi
#8 | Posted: 4 Jun 2007 22:43 
Hi Tech,

I am new here in this forum and just would like to add in response to the question you posted.

For me respect is giving value to the customer needs. In general, customers are looking for the following in terms of customer service:
1) courtesy
2) efficiency
3) accuracy

You give them all then you are giving respect to the customer. If one is absent, then it is not respect.

Author danielbechara
#9 | Posted: 2 Jul 2007 12:00 
As customer service my friends above had really well explained it...
from my side when you respect others then you respect yourself...

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 what does respect really mean?

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