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100 Customer Service Tips by Larry Williams

Quality Insider

Loose Lips Sink Companies and Reputations

Stay focused on work, not company gossip

Published: Thursday, December 2, 2010 - 15:24

Mother always said, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” This is great advice for a number of work-related conditions that can have a serious effect on your reputation and employment. When faced with the opportunity to speak or stay silent, consider the following before you say anything.

Safeguard company secrets

Any time you train with a new employer, you will learn things that are proprietary or expected to be kept on the “down low.” This means the information is not to be shared with others. Think of this like a chess game. Just as one player doesn’t want to let his opponent know his next move, a business never wants to tip its hand by revealing its strategy.

Respect this confidentiality so that a competitive edge can be maintained. If a competing company should learn of the techniques, procedures, or intellectual property that makes your business run more smoothly, the spiraling consquences can affect sales, demand, and even your job.

Don’t share company secrets with anyone. The information you are privy to is designed to improve efficiency, maximize sales, and make the business more successful. These secrets are entrusted to employees like you so that the business will progress and thrive.

Whether they are printed or written, procedural, or structural, or related to suppliers or customers, these secrets must remain safe with you. Keeping the secrets will gain greater respect with your employer.

Avoid co-worker confrontations

Workplace rivalry has been around forever. It can develop out of many different factors, including jealousy, seniority, and job performance. However, personality conflicts can be avoided if you can take the high road and turn away from confrontations.

Strong personalities and stubbornness are often involved in these conflicts. Be careful about getting into a conversation that calls someone out or puts her down. Most employers have protocols in place for reporting, evaluating, and documenting workplace complaints. Follow the protocols, not the passion.

Especially in large companies, people may team up like a wolf pack against a co-worker they don’t like. There is nothing productive from behavior like this. The best way to avoid these conflicts is to head them off before they become issues.

When you sink to the level of putting down co-workers, you are tainting people’s perception of you. Don’t play that game. It will get you nowhere. Don’t let your opinions about a co-worker drive you to put someone down. Don’t make it about you.

Sometimes we don’t consider the damage that can be caused to a business or our own personal reputation when we engage in destructive dialogue. Avoid this whenever possible. In most cases, it has little to do with your work and more about making a point. Get to work instead.

Next week I will talk about how you can give better customer service by thinking ahead.


About The Author

100 Customer Service Tips by Larry Williams’s picture

100 Customer Service Tips by Larry Williams

For more than 20 years, Larry Williams has been a respected public speaker, journalist, and business entrepreneur. He is recognized and awarded for his business professionalism, community service, and national involvement in a very high-profile child abduction case. Through his leadership, educational offerings, and public speaking, Larry Williams has set a standard for customer service that is recognized and emulated regionally and nationally; and he “tells it like it is” in his book, Customer Service A to Z.