Kindness in Business Public Relations
Kindness can go a long way, not only in your personal life but your professional life as well. It can make all the difference in the way others perceive your business. Your business public relations can dictate whether they choose to promote or use it – or not.
I haven’t posted here in a long time. I’ve been busy thinking about where I want to take my business next. A huge part of this has been
Part of who I am is an empath (INFJ, according to Meyers Briggs). I don’t typically make this public knowledge, especially as part of my business. However, part of what I’ve wanted to change about this business is keeping it compartmentalized from my identity. It aligned with my corporate training, but it doesn’t align with my ideas about changing industry. I believe business SHOULD be personal. I think that part of selling a business is selling a part of who you are. That may be a group of employees or one person.
So, we can start there. I am an incredibly kind, sensitive soul that picks up very quickly on environments, attitudes, emotions, etc. It is part of what makes me good in the world of communications. It also has been a massive key in my personal life towards overcoming the limitations of having Aspergers. I suck at identifying the meaning of body language, so I took drama/theater in school to help me learn it. I also studied art, music, and literature to be able to communicate more effectively with others.
Interestingly, I later discovered that in my empathy, I already had a gift for communication and understanding. The issue wasn’t that I was a poor communicator or poor at understanding others. It was that I quickly overwhelmed others, and often picked up on the things that WEREN’T being conveyed by them.
Why Communications Fascinates Me
Communications fascinate me because it creates a concrete system which one can follow towards successfully meeting business communication goals. I know that most people think that the primary purpose of a business is to sell – and that is true. However, an integral part of selling is:
- Identifying the people that would want to buy your product or service
- Identifying the best ways to contact them
- Communicating what your product or service does effectively enough to attract buyers, and
- Maintaining a good relationship with your customers to resolve any issues they may have and enable future improvements. It also helps with organic marketing. These customers should be telling other potential buyers about your product or service and helping your business grow.
All of these areas show much promise to someone who has a natural affinity for connecting with others. It also shows hope to someone with talent in understanding how minds work, and how to best communicate.
My Most Frequent Complaint About Business Public Relations
Throughout the years, it has frequently grieved me to see businesses fail in their public relations. As my skills and knowledge have grown, so has my ability to observe the technicalities which contribute to these issues. The most prevalent problem I have seen with businesses has been a lack of kindness towards customers. I don’t understand this. To me – it seems like common sense to want your customers to have the best impression of you as possible. Most grievous to me though is seeing businesses act unkindly towards people who are not yet customers.
It is such a significant issue for me that I will engage business in public relations with me before purchasing. I want to see how kind they are towards me. Sadly, there’s been many that I have had to walk away from since I started doing this. This past week contained a prime example.
The Facebook Business That Isn’t Social
I found a page on Facebook that had a lot of memes I liked, so I clicked the “like” button. I immediately became aware that it was a business page for a public relations startup I was interested in. The business owner had posted a picture of herself. I noticed that she was multi-racial like me. So, I used that when I clicked the “send a message” button to conduct my test. The idea was to make sure that the business owner could deliver, before booking an appointment.
I started out with an introduction, explaining to her how I found her page, etc. Included was a photo of myself to show her what we had in common. I casually, but politely, asked her what her ethnicity was. Please note that this was actually a pretty average conversation to initiate with another person of mixed-heritage.
She told me that the chat was only for appointments, though. I was a little confused by this response. I let her know that I clicked the “send a message” button, not the “book now” button. At which point she said to me, “this is a business chat for business only,” and closed the conversation.
Well, that would all be fine and dandy if she was selling a product, but she wasn’t. She was selling a public relations oriented service. I find it hard to believe that it was wrong for me to be curious about who this person was. I would be paying for her communication. She did not have any biography on her page, and her website was down. All I had to go on was a picture.
Her response, though, immediately triggered my internal alarms for “fraud alert.” I disliked her page, and that was that.
How Antisocial Public Relations Can Hurt A Business
The catch to this is that she could have communicated that she was only opening to discussing business. It should have been done in a more polite, open manner, though.
“I’m sorry, but I only use this chat for discussing my business. Do you have any questions related to my business that I can answer for you?”
If she had said something to this effect, it wouldn’t have left a bitter taste in my mouth. She would have been communicating her boundaries. She also would have been taking ownership of the situation through apologizing. Finally, she would have been leaving space open for the discussion she WILL allow.
Instead, though, her response communicated that she was not open to discussing anything with me. It also suggested she had contempt for me even asking. Worse still, it conveyed she was only interested in doing business with folks who weren’t cautious. That is why I immediately thought this business might be fraudulent.
What she gained from that interaction with me:
- I did not book an appointment with her
- Her page was unliked, which not only lost a follower but also lost my shares of her content
- I wrote a review detailing my encounter with her (which, considering she only had five ratings, impacted her quite negatively)
In this scenario, she not only lost a potential customer, but she also lost possible organic marketing of her business. She possibly will lose more future potential customers due to a poor review.
Improving Business Public Relations: Tips & Tricks
Improving the public relations of a business doesn’t mean you need to hire a public relations representative or copywriter. It does mean that you should be as kind and accommodating as you can towards your customers. You also should communicate what they can expect from you and what you expect from them clearly.
Here are a few tips you can follow to improve your business public relations:
- Use your best manners: “yes sir,” “no mam,” “please,” “thank you”
- Apologize when you have to tell a customer “no” about something
- Show empathy to let the customer know you’re on their side
- Tell the customer you want to help them
- If you must tell the customer “no” about something, let them know what options you would say “yes” to
- Explain the reasons behind your logic. “I’m sorry, sir, you can’t do that, because…. but, I would be happy to help you with…. because…”
- Use a proper closing when the conversation has ended. This doesn’t have to be elaborate. “Have a nice day” is fine.
- Be enthusiastic about communicating with the customer – yes, even if you have to fake it
- Ask the customer if there’s anything else you can help them with
- Let the customer know if they need to wait for a response from you, and approximately how long
In Business: Authenticity Is Important But Kindness Is Key
Just using these tips alone can vastly improve the impression you leave on the public. While you may not be actively making a sell, it will at least help prevent killing any potential future business.
Being yourself in business is essential. However, I would venture to say it is even more important to be kind. You never know when a kind act may ultimately pay off in the long run, without you even realizing it. Equally, you never know when being rude may pay you back in the long term, either. It’s better not to take risky chances with your business that you are more likely to lose than win. Especially when they are as easily controllable as the way you communicate with the public.
I hope you have thoroughly enjoyed this more conversational style of an article on this website. Please feel free to share your thoughts or questions with me either through the Contact menu or the comments section. I currently have openings for copywriting projects as well, so feel free to contact me for a consultation.