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Should You Always Be Polite

September 27, 1999
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It's usually a good idea to say your "pleases" and your "thank yous." It's good customer service, and builds good will.

But is it always a good idea?

Keep in mind that each of these words has a specific connotation in marketing and customer service. Today I noticed the can of Sun-Maid® Raisins, for example. It says, "Please use our Web site." The connotation: "If you use our Web site, you'd really be doing us a favor. There's nothing in it for you, since the last thing you want to do is read about raisins on the Internet. The only benefit is for us at Sun-Maid®."

When you're working on a business deal, and you thank the other party, it has a similar connotation. It means the other party just did you a favor, and in a sense, you "owe them one."

Use this rule of thumb: If someone lets you out of the subway car on the way to work in lieu of plowing you over, thank him or her.

But if you're negotiating the purchase of an automobile, and the dealer throws a couple free car mats into the mix, hold on to your thank-you before you lose the upper hand.

SOURCE: Workforce Online Editor Todd Raphael.

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