Someone once told me the story of an American golf ball manufacturer who lost an important contract with a Japanese customer because he packaged his products in fours, failing to appreciate that in Japan the number four represents misfortune – and even death.
I thought about this a few weeks ago when we faced a potentially difficult situation surrounding the issue of cultural sensitivity.
We had been asked by an estate agent to visit a rented property to check appliances were safe and to switch on the gas supply for an Asian couple who had just moved in.
However, the husband had made it known that he did not want any engineers entering the property while he was at work without a woman being present.
The agent offered to send along a female representative, but we had a better idea. I immediately donned my MTHC jacket, popped along to the address and introduced myself.
Once the female tenant was reassured, I introduced her to Matt and James who then got on with the job while I sat with her having a cup of tea. We left shortly afterwards and everyone was happy and satisfied.
At MTHC we always take the issue of customer relations seriously, particularly when the person concerned is elderly or vulnerable. But we believe it is equally important in diverse communities to keep in mind the cultures and traditions of our clients too.
Whatever the individual circumstances, a little sensitivity can go a long way towards reassuring nervous customers, building confidence in the supplier and, ultimately, helping to slam the door in the faces of rogue tradesmen.