Scared of your Customers?

by Karrie Kohlhaas on March 11, 2007

in Boundaries,Cultural Commentary

Dear Cell Phone User

Dear Cell Phone User

Many business owners are afraid of offending their cell phone-wielding customers by posting a “no cell phone policy” in their place of business. They don’t consider that these customers are actually hurting—not helping—business.

Customers who will slow your checkout line, damage company moral by treating your employees badly and annoy your other customers—even sending them away in some cases—are not your most valuable asset! When I see a “no cell phone” policy on display, I compliment management for taking this action to create a better atmosphere for everyone; An atmosphere that promotes not only a better business experience, but also promotes awareness of others.

My consulting agreement clearly states that I expect clients to turn off cell phones or pagers during client sessions. In fact, this serves my clients best: If the cell phone rings, it intrudes and breaks our train of thought. Even if clients do not answer the call, they still wonder who it was when it rings and their mind travels to family, worry, logistics…and away from the work they sat down to accomplish. Since implementing my own cell phone policy, clients have thanked me for setting that guide for them and modeling behavior they can adopt in their own businesses.

Where are you afraid to draw lines with your customers or clients? What policy would you like to instate but stop short because you don’t want to offend anyone?

© 2007 – 2010, Karrie Kohlhaas. All rights reserved.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Cathy Goodwin May 14, 2007 at 1:37 am

Agreed! Cell phones off, no smoking…but dogs should be welcome!
My dog and I used to hang out in Uptown Espresso till the Health Dept cracked down.

Reply

Karrie Kohlhaas May 14, 2007 at 3:35 am

Cathy,
I worked in an office where dogs were welcome and as long as the dogs were well behaved and no one had allergies, it worked well. It does seem like dogs know how to behave if their caretakers are well behaved and aware of others.

The key is that business owners should set the environment they want instead of feeling intimidated or fearful of customer response. If you want a dog friendly environment, then make that happen, if you don’t want dogs, then be clear on that point. Either way, you will attract clients who fit the boundaries you put forth. I’ve met too many business owners who want a cell-free environment but who feel uncomfortable rocking the boat.

Reply

Melanie Nathan September 2, 2008 at 6:00 pm

My mediations include divorcing parents and so we allow cell phones to be on in case of a child emergency. I believe this is somewhat unusual especially because we are in a “meeting” type enviroment. That said, I have had to weigh the importance of parental ever-readiness against the ditraction factor. Conclusion: a worried parent is worse than a cell-phone distracted parent! Not to mention he child’s interests, of course. Thanks for the conversation.

Reply

Another cathy September 17, 2008 at 1:07 am

Hello,
I question if dogs should be welcome in many businesses. Yes, they are lovely and great companions. But if you allow dogs then what else? cats?

Also although people love their dogs and proclaim that they do not gather germs, dust stray hair etc… I sense that they do and I prefer to not be around others’ animals in a business.

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