Thursday, 3 September 2009

Shouting in capitals

This article from the BBC interested me.

'...A New Zealand woman has lost her accounting job after sending "confrontational" emails filled with block capitals. So why is it taboo to hit the caps-lock key?'

The article goes on to speculate around the reasons why capital letters, mis-used, are so capable of causing grief. It seems to me though to be pretty clear. In email correspondance, writing in upper case is the equivalent of RAISING YOUR VOICE... and no-one likes to be shouted at. It seems this lady also sent instructions in bold and highlighted text in red. I don't even know her and I'm getting annoyed!

The thing is some people just aren't sensitive to this sort of thing, and genuinely don't know when they're causing offence. If anyone out there is unsure, might I suggest this rule of thumb: Pass all your emails through the internal client filter. If you wouldn't feel absolutely comfortable with the tone of your email for a client, then don't send it to a colleague either.

On the other hand some people know exactly what they're doing. AVOID THOSE PEOPLE.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Crystal clear

The other day I found myself standing in a wedding shop, tiara in hand, bridal shoe on foot, left to sort myself out while the shop assistant went off to answer the phone.

I didn't mind too much, I'm not a very high maintenance bride, but after a while I did start to think she had her priorities a bit wrong. Tuning in to the conversation it became clear that she was talking to her boss, I would guess the owner of the shop. She was having a detailed and lengthy conversation about the tiaras she felt should be ordered in and what process she thought they might adopt for re-ordering in the future. When she'd finished that, she moved on to the method of filing invoices - apparently one of the other girls had changed the system and she was unimpressed. *Sigh*.

Now I'm sure boss/owner was very pleased that her employee was being so organised and interested in the admin of tiara management. That said I'm equally sure that if the owner of this tiny, independent shop had known that there was a customer listening to the whole thing and being ignored he or she would have been absolutely incredulous... and then quite cross.

It served as a little reminder that owners/bosses/managers/CEOs need to be so clear as to what they want from their employees. To Wedding Shop Lady, being good at her job clearly meant being organised, tenacious and detail driven. All attributes which I'm sure no employer would scoff at; however I'm pretty sure Wedding Shop Owner would say that customer service comes before invoice filing in terms of importance.

The point is that you can't expect people to instinctively know that. If there is something that is important to you as a business owner you have to identify it and then broadcast that message. It has to be crystal clear. Like my tiara. Which I bought at Debenhams in the end.