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Clueless A Guide to Modern & Professional OfďŹ ce Etiquette

respectful customer service is back.

MARY L. CLARK BAIER


Preface

I would like to thank my niece, Lauren, for her expertise and ideas for this book.

Copyright Š 2012 Mary L. Clark Baier All rights reserved. ISBN-10: 1475226098 EAN-13: 9781475226096 Library of Congress Control Number: 2012907306 CreateSpace, North Charleston, SC


Preface

I would like to thank my niece, Lauren, for her expertise and ideas for this book.

Copyright Š 2012 Mary L. Clark Baier All rights reserved. ISBN-10: 1475226098 EAN-13: 9781475226096 Library of Congress Control Number: 2012907306 CreateSpace, North Charleston, SC


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“Da”

A Guide to Modern and Professional Office Etiquette

The Forerunner For GreAT cuSTomer SerVice I am not sure where manners and respect are hiding in today’s business. The never- ending race to obtain and keep the customer base is being ignored by most companies for bottom- line reasoning. Companies are not investing the time or education to achieve great customer service. It was ingrained early in my professional career that manners, common sense and respect will guarantee your career success and give any business a positive bottom line. Today’s business culture has changed. For quite some time it was “convenience” that drew the customer dollars. Research shows that a large percentage of the population would like to go back to good old customer service with a person, not a phone, and a person who will take the time to understand exactly what you’re concerned about and/or be courteous enough to direct you to someone who will. Management knows the importance of teamwork and mutual respect. It is management’s responsibility to establish guidelines and set example for office attire, etiquette, conduct and customer relationships.


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Management needs to instill confidence in their employees so they can perform their duties successfully and keep the customers coming back.

zipper was unzipped because it was so cold. I am sure he knew because a few weeks later he was arrested in a local bar for indecent exposure.

The amount of time spent on customer service training often indicates how important good customer service skills are to the company. Managers are stuck with more part-timer employees due to the downturn of the economy. This gives them little time to educate them on the importance of customer service. It is a long and life learning experience. When you enter an office the first person to say “how may I help you” is probably the more confident and willing employee to go the extra mile. More often than not I find I am the one having to find a person to help me in most stores.

Should I have told him?

Attitude over skill. It is difficult to train someone in common sense, make people smile and have a friendly nature. If you hire individuals who already “get it” you will have less negative customer service problems. You need to give employees the information needed to ensure great customer service. This includes first and foremost training in the company and the products the company produces. New employees need to know management’s beliefs and goals. Respect from the customer and the employer is generated by your employee knowledge and positive mannerisms. Customers like to be acknowledged as they enter a store or department. Letting them know you are available for questions isn’t pushy but rather, gives the customer confidence that help is right around the corner. True story: Early in my career, a gentleman was in my office. I said “Please take a seat,” and he literally did. When he left the chair went with him because he was overweight. He then complained to management that the chairs were too small. How would you have reacted? Another True Story: A young man came in to my branch one evening wearing a pair of bib overalls. His zipper was not zipped and a body part was visible. I wondered how he didn’t know his

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“Da”

Management needs to instill confidence in their employees so they can perform their duties successfully and keep the customers coming back.

zipper was unzipped because it was so cold. I am sure he knew because a few weeks later he was arrested in a local bar for indecent exposure.

The amount of time spent on customer service training often indicates how important good customer service skills are to the company. Managers are stuck with more part-timer employees due to the downturn of the economy. This gives them little time to educate them on the importance of customer service. It is a long and life learning experience. When you enter an office the first person to say “how may I help you” is probably the more confident and willing employee to go the extra mile. More often than not I find I am the one having to find a person to help me in most stores.

Should I have told him?

Attitude over skill. It is difficult to train someone in common sense, make people smile and have a friendly nature. If you hire individuals who already “get it” you will have less negative customer service problems. You need to give employees the information needed to ensure great customer service. This includes first and foremost training in the company and the products the company produces. New employees need to know management’s beliefs and goals. Respect from the customer and the employer is generated by your employee knowledge and positive mannerisms. Customers like to be acknowledged as they enter a store or department. Letting them know you are available for questions isn’t pushy but rather, gives the customer confidence that help is right around the corner. True story: Early in my career, a gentleman was in my office. I said “Please take a seat,” and he literally did. When he left the chair went with him because he was overweight. He then complained to management that the chairs were too small. How would you have reacted? Another True Story: A young man came in to my branch one evening wearing a pair of bib overalls. His zipper was not zipped and a body part was visible. I wondered how he didn’t know his

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Professional Introductions

It is important to be able to communicate in social situations. To me, making introductions is confusing. The following is the correct way to make and receive introductions: ■ Introduce a lower- ranking person to a higher-ranking person. ■ If you forget a person’s name while making the introduction, say something such as “I’m sorry, your name has just slipped my mind”. People are nervous meeting new people and do forget. This is embarrassing but a learning experience. ■ After introductions are made it is helpful for you to repeat each person’s name and title to yourself and make an analogy memory connection. This will help you recall that person in the future. ■ In case of a blunder apologize sincerely without being too effusive. ■ A person’s handshake says a lot about him. A firm connection indicates confidence and the eagerness to make your acquaintance. Grip a person’s hand but don’t try to break it. ■ Eye contact is a positive factor. It conveys the fact you are listening.


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■ Only in very personal introduction should you put your hand over the other person’s.

Chapter One

oVerVieW Modern office attire is completely different in today’s office. Saying that society has gone from dressing to the “nines” to not enough dressing is an understatement. A person enters the personnel office for an interview with two distinct colors of hair; her stomach is showing from below her blouse; her body is decorated with gaudy body art, she is wearing more earrings and bracelets than the local jeweler, her nails are red-white-blue with stars and she has a total attitude of indifference. She has a college degree so what is the problem? It’s just another part of her day. Later she wonders, “Why didn’t I get the job?” “DA” (Slang for “you don’t get it”) All companies need a dress code. Unfortunately, as companies grow, codes aren’t adhered to uniformly with managers and supervisors. The company dress code should be exemplified by the management and in writing in an Employee handbook. This saves the company in legal actions. Most importantly, company management and supervisors should be held accountable to enforce these codes.


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■ Only in very personal introduction should you put your hand over the other person’s.

Chapter One

oVerVieW Modern office attire is completely different in today’s office. Saying that society has gone from dressing to the “nines” to not enough dressing is an understatement. A person enters the personnel office for an interview with two distinct colors of hair; her stomach is showing from below her blouse; her body is decorated with gaudy body art, she is wearing more earrings and bracelets than the local jeweler, her nails are red-white-blue with stars and she has a total attitude of indifference. She has a college degree so what is the problem? It’s just another part of her day. Later she wonders, “Why didn’t I get the job?” “DA” (Slang for “you don’t get it”) All companies need a dress code. Unfortunately, as companies grow, codes aren’t adhered to uniformly with managers and supervisors. The company dress code should be exemplified by the management and in writing in an Employee handbook. This saves the company in legal actions. Most importantly, company management and supervisors should be held accountable to enforce these codes.


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Attire If your company provides you with uniforms, you still have a responsibility to make them look fresh and presentable. ■■ They should be clean, and pressed, and properly fit your body type. ■■ Your slacks slightly loose fitting, the correct length and comfortable material. ■■ The tops should not be too constraining, and be the correct length. The tops should give you enough flexibility to move around and do your job without ripping seams. If your weight fluctuates, your uniform size should too. Don’t try to wear a uniform that is too small. If your company does not provide uniforms, you need to consider the type of work performed.

For women: I wouldn’t want to see an executive secretary with slacks showing her “panty line” or her buttock crack. I also don’t want to see how well endowed she is in the bosom. Here again, wear your size. It is not expensive to dress nice. In the summer it would be inappropriate for executive personnel to wear: ❏❏ Dresses with spaghetti straps. ❏❏ Jean- styled Capri’s. ❏❏ Open-toed sandals ❏❏ Short-short skirts. Before wearing a questionable outfit, ask your supervisor.

For men: Men have it a little easier in the attire department. Their work field usually matches their clothing expectations. You might have

Chapter One

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construction, manufacturing uniforms, casual business (dress or sport shirt without suit coat) and executive business (dress shirt with tie and coat). ❏❏ A sport coat instantly creates a pulled- together look, especially in a business/ casual environment. ❏❏ Pair a black, navy blue, or dark gray blazer with khakis or dark pants. ❏❏ In addition to dress slacks, khakis, corduroys, wool flannel and linen slacks are appropriate. ❏❏ Casual button- down oxford shirts is a great alternative to dress shirts. ❏❏ A good pair of brown or black dress shoes can be worn with any outfit.

Accessories: Women’s Jewelry and shoes should be moderate. ■■ No more than one or, at the most two earrings in one ear. ■■ Dangling bracelets on women constantly bumping the desk is annoying. ■■ Rings no more than two per hand; large fashion rings should be saved for evening wear. ■■ Hosiery should be worn in the executive section of any office. It sounds boring but as we all know all legs aren’t equal. The color should be nude, black, suntan or brown. White for nurses. ■■ Shoes comfortable for your position. Retail sales and office personnel do better in flats or one-inch pumps. ■■ No sneakers.


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Attire If your company provides you with uniforms, you still have a responsibility to make them look fresh and presentable. ■■ They should be clean, and pressed, and properly fit your body type. ■■ Your slacks slightly loose fitting, the correct length and comfortable material. ■■ The tops should not be too constraining, and be the correct length. The tops should give you enough flexibility to move around and do your job without ripping seams. If your weight fluctuates, your uniform size should too. Don’t try to wear a uniform that is too small. If your company does not provide uniforms, you need to consider the type of work performed.

For women: I wouldn’t want to see an executive secretary with slacks showing her “panty line” or her buttock crack. I also don’t want to see how well endowed she is in the bosom. Here again, wear your size. It is not expensive to dress nice. In the summer it would be inappropriate for executive personnel to wear: ❏❏ Dresses with spaghetti straps. ❏❏ Jean- styled Capri’s. ❏❏ Open-toed sandals ❏❏ Short-short skirts. Before wearing a questionable outfit, ask your supervisor.

For men: Men have it a little easier in the attire department. Their work field usually matches their clothing expectations. You might have

Chapter One

3

construction, manufacturing uniforms, casual business (dress or sport shirt without suit coat) and executive business (dress shirt with tie and coat). ❏❏ A sport coat instantly creates a pulled- together look, especially in a business/ casual environment. ❏❏ Pair a black, navy blue, or dark gray blazer with khakis or dark pants. ❏❏ In addition to dress slacks, khakis, corduroys, wool flannel and linen slacks are appropriate. ❏❏ Casual button- down oxford shirts is a great alternative to dress shirts. ❏❏ A good pair of brown or black dress shoes can be worn with any outfit.

Accessories: Women’s Jewelry and shoes should be moderate. ■■ No more than one or, at the most two earrings in one ear. ■■ Dangling bracelets on women constantly bumping the desk is annoying. ■■ Rings no more than two per hand; large fashion rings should be saved for evening wear. ■■ Hosiery should be worn in the executive section of any office. It sounds boring but as we all know all legs aren’t equal. The color should be nude, black, suntan or brown. White for nurses. ■■ Shoes comfortable for your position. Retail sales and office personnel do better in flats or one-inch pumps. ■■ No sneakers.


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Chapter One

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■■ Clogs not recommended because of the fast pace and the chance of tripping or falling.

Back Office, Maintenance and Warehouse Employees

■■ Dress boots can be worn in winter months only.

Employees usually not seen by the public on a daily basis are “back office” employees. The expression “back office” does not by any means infer they are not as important to the company. It is just a more casual environment and customer service standards are not as high.

Office Personnel or Front Line Retail Personnel What the office personnel and front-line Retail personnel wear are very important, if not more important, than what the executive personnel wear. These employees are the first seen by new customers. It is inexcusable to be lax on these employees. Codes for these employees pretty much come down to fabric, care and compatibility. ■■ Stretch fabrics, jean material, washed denim, or pajama flannel is a no-no. ■■ Cotton and polyester pants and tops are preferred. ■■ Shorts, Capri pants, tank tops, sleeveless shirts, halter tops, flipflops, overly revealing attire, jogging suits and T-shirts are for leisure hours. Hair and nails should look cared for. ■■ Nails with professional tips should not be too racy in color or art. ■■ Hair should be clean and styled appropriate for the job. ■■ Waitresses need to wear a cap to conform to food- safety standards; ■■ Gels and spikes don’t make a respectful statement.

■■ If no uniform is provided, choose comfortable pants and tops. ■■ Clothing should be clean. Remember, there is a chance you might have to go “on the floor” or appear in an office. That could be your chance to make a favorable impression on management. It might be just what you needed for that promotion.

Clueless The Book - by Mary L. Clark Baier  

Clueless - A Guide to Modern and Professional Office Etiquette is designed for schools, colleges, career centers or individuals who are ente...

Clueless The Book - by Mary L. Clark Baier  

Clueless - A Guide to Modern and Professional Office Etiquette is designed for schools, colleges, career centers or individuals who are ente...

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