Something I never understood is how a person in a position to offer customer service could possibly treat paying customers with the utmost contempt. Last week, however, I saw it happen. One of the men who works for a competitor of the company I work for treated me very poorly when I went in to rent gear from him. (We rent from the competitor when we don't have all of the equipment a client needs.)
The first day I found it quite annoying, but it was only his second week working alone in the office, so I gave him the benefit of the doubt and let it slide. Anyone can have a bad day. However, he must have had a bad week, because every day I went in there (and I went EVERY DAY), he made it clear that he didn't want my money or my business.
It got me to thinking, what would the world be like if I treated other writers or potential agents like that? As a matter of fact, other writers have treated me like that (as I've written about briefly in other posts), but even the smallest writer, agent, or publisher should be treated as a potential business partner. Plenty of authors and agents have blogged about this topic, I just thought it was worth repeating after last week.
Personally, if I develop any kind of business reputation, I want it to be along the lines of, "That guy really knows how to work with you, and even when he disagrees, he's polite about it." I'm not perfect, but I never want agents or publishers to call me a jerk behind my back. Yes, to an extent I do care about how I'm perceived, and I do want to be liked, but that's not why I want to have that reputation. It's because I DON'T want people to dread working with me out of an obligation, the way I had to deal with that guy last week. It made me physically ill to think that I had to talk to him AGAIN.