Professionalism: it is something of importance, but it is a dying breed. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines Professionalism as “the skills, good judgment, and polite behavior expected from people in a business.” In most establishments I visit these days, I see mostly people who have a desire to be unprofessional. I have also seen this in most places I have worked as well. I am not sure what the cause of people wanting to be unprofessional is, but I urge everyone to please be professional. Never turn customers away, do whatever you can to stay professional and take your work seriously, always be aware of how you might seem to others, and learn to be honest and able to have an open mind to learn more about your craft as often as possible.
First off, never turn customers away or ignore them no matter the circumstances. This is a way to lose your customer. Even if you are on your breaks, you should help the customer out if you can, or at the least find someone who is able to help them. According to Halton (2013), a man walked into a bank but was turned away because the worker at the desk was about to start their lunch. The man went to another bank instead, and even though the worker was about to start lunch, they helped the man out. It made a big impact for the bank. You should also never tell a customer “I don’t know.” This is just a turnoff to customers. According to Green (2013), you need to do more than what is in your job description. Go above and beyond! If you truly do not know the answer for the customer, then find someone who does and take the customer to that person.
Secondly, you should also do whatever you can to stay professional and always take your work seriously. Even while you are not at work or if you just work from home, you should always be professional. According to Kendrick (2014), if you have to take your kids somewhere at a certain time, do not tell the person on the other end of the line that. Just tell them you have a meeting to attend. Kendrick also said to be sure to have the mute button on your phone turned on so that no unnecessary noises are heard. Keep your home life at home. Your business partners do not need to hear all that. Another way I have discovered to stay professional is to take your work seriously. Even if you are not a professional just yet, be a serious person when it comes to your work and how you present yourself. I am not a professional quite yet myself, however how I present myself and how I try to be, I may as well be. Always presenting yourself in a professional manner will also help boost your self-esteem and confidence.
You should also always be sure you are aware of how you might appear to a customer. Just because pants full of holes and body art seems to be a popular trend now, it is not very attractive in a business unless you are working for a novelty shop. How many people do you feel really find that as a way of being professional? If you are going to have tattoos or piercings please cover them up or take them out. There are a lot of customers who feel this is just a distraction or offensive. Some people will not even hire you if you even have them. You should also refrain from doing certain activities while interacting with customers or where they can see or hear you. How do you think chewing gum, spitting tobacco into your portable spittoon, or swearing appears? It is not great behavior and it also turns people away. According to brainyquote.com (2016), an Australian hair stylist by the name of Tabatha Coffey once said “Being successful is about being professional, and chewing gum is not professional. It is also a huge pet peeve of mine.” Swearing should also be left where it belongs: nowhere.
Last, but certainly not least, you should learn to be an honest person and have integrity, and also be willing to learn more. According to Professionalism (2014), people who are honest keep their promise, and you can trust them because of this fact. This will keep customers coming back to your business. You should also be able to have an open mind to learn more about your craft as often as possible, if not every day. I told a friend the other night that I do not agree with the word “Expert.” There is no such thing. A person may know a lot about their field, and therefore have a lot of knowledge, however things are changing every day. If things change every day, there’s always something new to learn, so to be an expert is actually impossible. Colin Carbno on “Why I.T. professionalism is important” (2012), states “Professionals never stop learning in order to be better at what we are doing.” He is correct with this statement. If you want to stay in business, you need to learn anything new going on in your industry. That is the only way to remain current, and relevant, and then able to attract customers.
First impressions mean a lot to people. It is very important that you handle yourself in a professional way. Your outward appearance: your attitude, how you dress, and how you represent yourself will make all the big difference on if your customer will come back to your establishment or not. Being honest, and able to learn more about your field also makes a big difference. So yes, professionalism is a very big deal. If you have no desire to be professional, then you should just hang it up and stay home because only true professionalism equals true success.
BrainyQuote. (2016). Professionalism Quotes. Retrieved from http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/professionalism.html
Green, A. (2013, July 22). What does it mean to be professional at work? [Web log posting]. US News and World Report. Retrieved from http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/outside-voices-careers/2013/07/22/what-does-it-mean-to-be-professional-at-work
Halton, B. (2013, September). Exceptional service [Editorial]. Fire Engineering, 166(9), 6. Retrieved from Academic Search Complete database.
Kendrick, J. (2014, March/April). Four steps to home office survival. Quill, 102(2), 23. Retrieved from Business Source Complete database.
Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Professionalism. Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Retrieved from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/professionalism
Professionalism: Developing this vital characteristic. (n.d.). Retrieved November 27, 2014 from http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/professionalism.htm
Why I.T. professionalism is important [Reader contributions]. (2012). Retrieved from the Canadian Association of IT Professionals (CIPS) website, http://www.cips.ca/Why-IT-Professionalism-is-Important