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Uncommon Courtesy

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Courteous: polite, respectful, or considerate in manner.


It feels good to be acknowledged. Even for something that seems simply the right thing to do. We’re not often shown appreciation for the little things that we do – the things that come natural to us. Case in point: For well over a year now, Sundance Group gets calls from individuals who have no idea who they are calling, yet a nominal charge has been noted on their bank statements from a company named ‘Sundance’ (in Oak Forest no less). Charges are usually under $20 plus some odd cents. Through my own research (and I will admit – angst) I’ve learned that this is a management company  with corporate office nearby that manages and/or owns several Taco Bells and other fast food restaurants. Some customers who either use their debit/credit card to make a purchase – or possibly an ATM machine inside one of these restaurants – are the reason for these calls. While they don’t see anything on their receipt saying such, it later shows up on a bank statement. They call their banks who continually advise them to call us!

Several times each month, I field and return these calls and have to explain that ‘we’ are not the one making the charge; that we are a business whose primary customers (other businesses) are invoiced for services. Because there are so many banks cited during these return calls, it is unreasonable for me to be calling those banks preemptively. But it’s not unreasonable for me to reach out those concerned/confused callers.

This simple gesture that takes maybe a minute – seems to be sincerely appreciated. I guess I could wait for them to try and call back and catch me live and explain then. I’d rather set their mind at ease and at the same time, take that ‘requested’ return call off my to-do list.

Courtesy. Seems simple enough. Not a lot of thought or time, albeit a growing aggravation. I recall years ago while in the casino industry and fielding hundreds of applicants per day, sometimes thousands in a week. I felt it was important that each person was acknowledged – letting them know that we do indeed have their resume/application. We worked out a cost effective system to do so, and this helped to build our reputation as an employer who cared. Even how we handled those we did not extend a job offer to after interviews, said a lot about us as an employer. I have the thank you notes in response to the ‘thanks but no thanks’ messages to remind me.

Nowadays, most people applying for jobs are responded to immediately and electronically. Most people know this is a systematic response and not human. But the human touch, the human factor – is an important one. It doesn’t have to cost much; it doesn’t have to take a lot of time. Yet, the impact is a positive one. Sending a message to job applicants, and others waiting on some response – that they are being acknowledged, not ignored, and that their time and efforts are appreciated. We’re all human, regardless of which side of the phone line or which side of applicant tracking system we’re working from. It’s as simple as being polite.






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