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Foul Language Taints Customer Loyalty

April 23, 2014

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We attended the funeral of a friend when our son was only 12-years-old. I brought our young son, Dave, along because the elderly woman who had passed away adored him. Since it was Memorial Day weekend, my plan was to head home after the funeral but Dave asked me if we could drive in the funeral procession and go to the cemetery. After a few minutes, I agreed. He had been to funerals before but never to the cemetery. I thought it would be a good experience for him.

Dave enjoyed the ride across town, especially the part where you get to go through red lights. We sang along to the radio and chatted as we drove. When we arrived at the entrance to the cemetery, I turned off the radio and explained that now we needed to be quiet and respectful. It was a beautiful day and we had all the windows open.

As we headed toward our friend’s final resting place, the silence was shattered by a cemetery employee yelling obscenities at another employee who apparently had been telling the people in our procession to park in the wrong place. Profanities spewed from this guy’s mouth for all to hear. Although I knew it was too late, I quickly closed the car windows so Dave wouldn’t hear the words.

My initial shock turned to anger. This one individual tainted the whole beautiful service through his careless choice of words. It was an incredible show of disrespect toward the family of the deceased and offensive to all who attended. I pulled up next to him in my car and quietly but sharply told him to cut out the foul language. He apologized, but the damage had been done.

On another occasion, I took an outfit to a dry cleaning store. The outfit belonged to my mom and I wasn’t sure if it could be dry-cleaned because, apparently, she had cut the care tags off. I asked the clerk if she knew. She looked for the tags and I told her they were missing. She exclaimed, “Well, that sucks. It was stupid to cut out the tags.”

I picked up the garment and walked out. I have no desire to do business with anyone who uses foul language. If it is used in front of any customer, it’s wrong. When it is used in front of a child, it’s disgusting.

Customers deserve to be treated with respect at all times. It is never acceptable to use any profanity or even crude language that is acceptable on television. When employees use inappropriate language that can be heard by a customer, it is a sign of disrespect.

Foul language demonstrates to the customer that the employee lacks maturity and professionalism. It’s a sure way to offend individuals and it lowers their ability to trust the integrity of the entire organization.

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