One rule of business is “never rubbish the competition” because it creates bad feeling in your profession, you make your potential customers uncomfortable, and people wonder about your character.
Something else we have to consider is careless talk about our clients or careless talk in front of our customers.
It is easy to fall into the trap. We are out at a networking meeting and someone asks about a competitor or a mutual customer. We have to be careful what we say. We can be overheard. Our opinion, good or bad, can be passed on. Our reputation is at stake, whether it is for bad-mouthing an acquaintance or worse, a client, or more generally for being unreliable.
It is just the same on-line, or perhaps it is worse. If we express an opinion on a forum or on Facebook or on another website, it is out there for all to see. If we change our mind we may not have control over the content and be able to withdraw it. If we are unkind to someone on a forum or even if we state what we see as the truth, other people may have a different perspective.
Careless talk in front of our customers even if not about them can be costly. Many of us will have had clients (or will have) where something has not had the desired outcome, even if for reasons we cannot control. The trouble is that clients or customers may not have the full context and may worry about us or about themselves.
I was in a hospital waiting room the other day in which were around eight patients or relatives. Some of these people were likely not to be very well, so they didn’t need to hear the two receptionists discussing a patient who had apparently died in pain. If they had to talk about it, why not in their private rest room; certainly not in the hearing of the worried ill!
Customer relations and indeed business relations require discretion and common sense. If in doubt we should keep our counsel, and we should always engage brain when talking or writing in public. If I had been these receptionists’ manager and heard their conversation I would have “called them in for a chat”.
Have you come across business acquaintances and networkers who couldn’t keep their mouths shut and who have damaged their reputations far more than those they have criticised? How did you feel about them? I bet you wouldn’t buy from them.