It's not an easy topic to bring up.
We have all walked into an elevator only to be greeted by the waft of someone else's body odor, or encountered a hair stylist whose close proximity when cutting our hair makes the smell of garlic on their breath an unpleasant experience. It's very disturbing, to say the least.
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A recent study has shown that if there is one thing that most people would like tradesmen to improve, it is their personal hygiene--"don't come to my place and stink it up".
There is a great story that I came across a few years ago. There had been a number of complaints about the level of hygiene of taxi drivers in a particular city. A national men's fragrance company decided to do a promotion where they gave every driver a bottle of after-shave and a deodorant to be kept in the taxis and to be used (sparingly) throughout the day.
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The promotion was a huge success and everyone was happy. Both companies got great national press coverage and the customers could once again get into taxis without holding their noses.
Personal hygiene is a key consideration when it comes to customer service. Of course, if you are a telemarketer it may be of less importance, but stop and have a think about the person sitting next to you and sharing your telemarketing booth.
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If you work with food, personal hygiene is a huge issue. It can be difficult to discuss a personal subject like this and I would suggest that you make your expectations very clear when employing staff. Put it in writing and make sure that the new employee is very aware of how they need to be groomed.
An area that is often harder to break through is when it's the business owner who has a personal hygiene problem. There have been quite a few times when I have had to sit down with a business owner and suggest that the best way they could increase the number of customers coming to their business is to start using a deodorant. Some people take it well, others don't.
Once again, it's all about respect. By taking the time to show that you care about your personal hygiene, you are showing your customers that you take your job seriously. By association, you are also taking them seriously.
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