Column: How Do You Look?

Vice President—Content/ Editorial Director, Ruthanne Terrero
 
Vice President—Content/Editorial Director, Ruthanne Terrero

I recently needed to contact a local company I was working with for a home-improvement project, so I went to its website and called the toll-free number provided. It connected to a recording that told me I’d won a trip to Florida. I caught my breath. How wonderful! I love winning! But it turned out to be an offer for a timeshare, so I calmed myself down and hung up.

I called the second toll-free number on the site and that recording said it had been disconnected. How odd. I’d been in touch three weeks ago with this business and apparently it had gone under since then. As a last resort, I clicked on the “contact us” button on the site and sent an e-mail saying I was trying to get in touch with them. They called back quickly and they told me not to bother with those toll-free numbers, to just use the local number they’d given me when we’d first spoken.

Really? Is that the way you want to present yourselves to the world, I thought? The gaffe didn’t matter to them. I wondered if they’d been a part of a larger network that had dissolved or with whom they’d cut ties. Then I stopped caring because they didn’t care, either.

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Take a look at your collateral. Do you still have logos, phone numbers or links that connect to a dead end, or worse, information that no longer relates to your travel business? Are you promoting offers that have expired? Do you have an “about us” section that’s been “under construction” since you launched your site? If so, it’s time for a fall cleaning and I suggest you review your online and offline materials weekly to ensure they still represent you in the best light possible.

Fleece pajamas, tattoos and piercings

More than ever, people are dressing for business in a variety of ways. That’s kind of neat, considering all the new opportunities technology, social networking and online publishing have brought to us. But where do you draw the line in a more traditional environment where the public is invited in to do transactions with your company?

When I was in IKEA recently, the store was extremely crowded with large families pushing giant shopping carts around. In the check-out area, I spied a young woman behind a cash register who was wearing fleece pajamas. This wasn’t a trendy look, where she’d opted for a crisp white V-neck complemented by cute, fluffy leggings partially covered by adorable Ugg boots. This was the “I just got out of bed and—whoops—I really should consider buying my clothes in a larger size because these jammies are feeling kind of snug today” look.

As fascinated as I was, I had to look away. How busy could a store be that management would not have sent this young lady home? How people present themselves in the workplace is an issue we all have to deal with. I once hired an intern who turned out to have so many tattoos on her chest and arms that I thought she was wearing a long-sleeve shirt when in reality she was sporting a tank top. Was this any of my business? That didn’t come into play because her term with us ended soon enough. She left with some good experience and went off to face the world, tattoos and all.

How do you deal with individualism in your business? Let me know so I can share your tips and policies with our readers.

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