Last week I attended a show at the theatre and leading up to the start of the show there was a flurry of social media activity by the audiences. Many people were uploading selfies or others were just catching up on their social media. I tuned into a conversation by some women behind me about what they were posting and saying on social media. It all had the friendly, light-hearted, social tone appropriate for good engagement online. I was then shocked by what happened next. A couple of people were needing to get to their theatre seat and as is the way at the theatre, you often need to walk in front of others to make your way to your spot. A couple was walking past the group of women to get to their seat. I could not believe my ears. In a nasty tone one of the previously light-hearted friendly toned woman said, “Why didn’t you choose the other end of the row to get to your seat” and then “How rude you didn’t even say excuse me”. From my perspective it was crystal clear who the rude people were and it wasn’t those edging their way to their seat.
I was gobsmacked at the Jeckyll and Hyde difference to their online and offline personas. How could such a disconnect occur? How can someone be so polite online and then have no manners offline? It made me think about how we are in business. How we present in our promotion and our online presence. Are we setting customers up to be disappointed because it’s not the real us? I often joke about people in hospitality sometimes being the most inhospitable people. In business, are you guilty of sending out the message we’d love more customers but when they come you are not treating them with that love? A strong brand is one that is based on truth not just perception. You need to be what you say and do. Above all though businesses need to have manners so make sure you are flexing your politeness muscle online as well as offline.