The New Year has arrived, and companies across industries are creating their own resolutions for 2013. But for these improvements to take root, customers have to be willing to better themselves alongside their favorite brands. Many satisfying experiences hinge upon customer-to-customer interactions, yet companies rarely look to alter customer etiquette in their attempt to boost satisfaction. Customers consistently expect more from their most trusted brands, yet they often neglect to give in return.This year, customers need to do some soul-searching, as well: Ask not what your favorite brands can do for you, ask what you can do for your favorite brands! Though there are countless ways customers can improve their fellow consumers' experience, here are five tips that may get the average customer--you!--thinking about someone other than themselves:
Pay attention to your surroundings. Whether you're at the mall, the grocery store, or your favorite restaurant, be aware of those around you. Do not aimlessly stand in the middle of the corridor chatting with your friends. Do not block the entire aisle with your cart. Do not ruin anyone else's meal. Common courtesy starts with just one customer. Simply moving out of someone's way before they have to say "excuse me" has the power to trickle down to so many others. You'll be surprised how contagious thoughtfulness can be.
Stop treating parking lots like tiny speedways. Often times, when heading to the store, parking becomes half the battle (especially around the holidays, as you may have noticed). You might want to get the closest space possible, and you might see the ideal spot open up from afar, but don't neglect the rules of the road just because you want to walk a few feet less. If the arrows tell you it's a one-way road, follow their direction. If there's a strategically placed stop sign here and there, pause. Otherwise, that fender-bender may just cost you more than anything the stores are selling.
Be quiet, please. Though loud people are known to annoy customers in many environments, travelers are particularly picky about noise etiquette. Personally, I cannot recall one single train ride in recent history that was not contaminated by someone rudely spouting their personal business to someone at the other end of their mobile phone. These noisy customers alter their fellow passengers' perception of the company at hand because they tend to associate such experiences with the service provider, not the individual causing the ruckus. Oh, and while your dialing the noise down a notch, turn your music down, too. If I can clearly identify the song that's coming from your headphones, you might have the volume up to eardrum-demolishing decibels (which is bad for your health... and the sanity of those around you).
Give others some space. We spend too much time waiting. We've all had to wait in line at some point, and depending on the situation, lines can become rather miserable. But nothing makes the experience more frustrating than that one annoying customer who insists on practically standing on top of you the whole entire time. If you move an inch to gain some breathing room, they move along with you, as if slight movements will hasten the process. Just stand back and let those in front of you breathe a little. You're still next, and you'll still have your turn. You just won't drive your fellow customer bananas in the meantime.
Lead by example. When adults neglect to be courteous, they teach their children to follow in their footsteps. If you encounter an annoying, disrespectful child, more often than not there's an equally rude adult somewhere nearby. This happens rather frequently at casual restaurants and coffee shops. Parents will be too consumed with their companions or electronic gadgets, allowing their children to behave like uncivilized creatures not fit for public. If you want to raise a child that exudes the same sort of respect you aim to show your fellow customers, set the example and hold them to the same standard. They may be young, but children that learn early will carry these high morals with them into the future, cultivating the conscientious customer of tomorrow.