Customer means business. That’s why we always say, ‘Customer is the real boss!”. Long lasting relationship is the secret of any business growth. For a successful business operation we need 3 Ps. P=People, P=Product and P=Performance in conjunction with efficient management and effective leadership. Whether you’re dealing in production or service oriented business, you need the right PEOPLE to process your efforts to reach your Vision. Those ‘right’ people are the ‘professionals’. By ‘professional’ I mean people of all levels-from support staff/peon/security guard to the CEO! To bring business you need the right people i,e. the professionals to market your products or services for cash flow. Only the right professionals can deal with the right product or services through the right process for a result-driven performance. For any industry a professional must know the exact professional office manner and etiquette to maintain a consistent and long lasting customer delight for business.
Etiquette is the formal rules of correct and polite behavior in society or among members of a particular profession. This is a set of rules various parts of the world follow. These ‘rules’ are little things that tell you what is proper. Example: You call your friend by his name all the time but if you did the same at your work place, you would just not be following the etiquette. Your body language, greeting people with smile, saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ to people appropriately and so on fall under the umbrella of etiquette.
Manners mean behavior that is considered to be polite in a particular society and culture Manners are what you do in a specific way to be polite, courteous, etc. showing proper manners means making the person around you not feel bad. Example: You say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ to show good manners. You are not ‘showing etiquette’ while doing this. As everybody already knows that it’s a professional etiquette to use these words at work!
Professional manner & etiquette consists of professional dress code (the right dress with the right contrast of color & combination of shoe and socks for example: black belt with black shoe, brown belt with brown shoe, any deep color or any dress exposing physical structure must be avoided,), professional appearance (well-shaved unless you’ve your regular beard, trimmed hair, nails decently maintained), punctuality (your presence right on time avoiding all regular excuses such as traffic jam etc), use of professional language (Sir, Madam, Mr. Ms. etc.), positive attitude (greeting with smile, keeping the positive tone on), non-verbal communication skills (eye contact, proper hand shake, facial expression, positive gesture and posture etc.), maintaining hygiene (using the right perfume, keeping socks and under pants clean regularly to avoid creating bad odor) etc.
Manners impact of how others perceive you and your company. Your appearance and dress code, your way of welcoming people at first sight or later, your body language, your way of choosing words for your business conversation, your way of managing time effectively, your professional way of interacting with people and finally your mindset are the core composition of your professional manner and etiquette.
Professional office manner and etiquette reflect the value, image and culture of the company a professional is working for. I call it VIC (Value, Image & Culture) Model! When any visitor (who can be a prospect, client, customer or surveyor!) walks into our office, our clothing, our etiquette and manner are on display. People assess our confidence and ability on those first few seconds of information. Communication research has shown that within the first one-thousandth of a second of meeting you, those on the receiving end have already started making judgments about you. Within 7 seconds, they are already trying to determine whether they like and trust you, and whether you appear confident and qualified.
If they can’t decide within that time frame, they spend the next 30 to 60 seconds going through a critical checklist in their heads about you. Thus, each professional represents the organization he/she works for. It depends on him how he creates the value, image and culture (the VIC Model!) of the company.
Each company must have a manual for professional manner and etiquette. New recruits should go through an induction program to understand these sensitive issues to deal with people at work. Even every year there should be a review of a company’s professional manner and etiquette to update its manual to keep pace with the changing trends of global fashion and life style. Many experts believe that this issue is the foundation stone of brand campaign of any organization.