We’ll Treat You With The Respect You Deserve

If there is one ubiquitous phrase popping up in commercials that makes me batty, this would be the one. I’ve never understood it. And that includes the variations: We’ll treat your pet, or your car, or your home with the respect it or they deserve. Really?

Well, of course you will, or I won’t pay you!

Seriously, is this something that needs to be said? Why wouldn’t you treat me this way? Has any business thrived on disrespecting its clients? Other than utilities and government agencies that is? Every one of your competitors is making the same claim anyway, so the phrase doesn’t even set you apart from them.

I have a philosophy that comes from doing hundreds of radio and TV appearances promoting a show. You only get so much time to make your point, so don’t waste it saying the obvious. Or the easily discovered. Besides, who sits next to the TV with a pen and paper just in case valuable information like this is presented? Most people don’t even have writing equipment next to their telephone.

For example: In some cities where we set up production, we’d have press appearances to promote our show. We’d be lucky to get 5 minutes on a morning TV show. Almost invariably, the PR people we were working with in that town would hand us a sheet of talking points to use in that 5 minutes. These would include show times, theater location, phone numbers to buy tickets, web site, etc etc. And I would always ask, “Why are we wasting 2 of our 5 precious minutes giving out information that can be easily found? We should be taking that time to sell the product, not telling them how to buy it.”

In our case, that product was ‘us’. Our show was a comedy, so we had better be funny. You wouldn’t buy teeth whitening services from a guy with a yellow smile, and you won’t buy comedy from boring, unfunny people. But at least you’d know where the theater is located, so you can avoid it. If we were funny and entertaining, then people would seek out our services. And these days, that information is easy to find.

Which gets me back to my original point. Treating me with respect is a selling point, but in my experience it is also a given. You should be doing this, in fact, I expect it. Every business does this. If you have to talk about it, then I suspect that you either have very few compelling reasons for me to patronize your business, or you have had a bad reputation in the past. Neither are good.

Take your precious 30 seconds and tell me why you are different than your competitors. Maybe it’s price; the same job for less. Maybe it’s service; you’ll finish faster and give me a donut. Maybe it’s experience; you’ve been doing this for a hundred years and you even trained all your competition. Either way, don’t waste that air or print time.

If you do that, then you will have truly treated me with the respect I deserve.