Years ago I heard a quote that goes something like: “Nothing is sweeter than the sound of a person's own name. " I don't know who first said this but I agree with them. When we hear someone say our name, it brings us closer to that person. It suggests they are a friend. At the very least it says they care enough to know and use our name.
When you use a customer's name, you break down a lot of barriers that can block communication. You position yourself for a better relationship with your customer. Plus it helps you remember and recognize your customers. It's easier (and more fun) to acknowledge them when you can use their name.
In fact, as I write this, I am sitting in the waiting area of my auto service place (the only one I use). When I call or stop in they know me. They know my wife. They know my car. And if Bruce, the owner is in, he'll come out, shake my hand and chat. I never have to tell them who I am. (I feel like Norm at Cheers. )
A big reason I stick with Bruce and his crew is because they make it a point to remember their customers. That makes me feel important. And it all starts with my name.
Earlier today I was chatting with a friend whose family is in the restaurant business. He told me a story of how his grandfather used to show him how to welcome guests to their restaurant. He said it's like welcoming a guest into your home. And it works because his family's restaurants have some of the most loyal customers in the business.
This is an easy way to keep your customers coming back and it costs nothing. Make this a standard for 2009. Commit to using your customer's names whenever possible when you are in direct contact with them (even email). Get everyone in your organization doing this. Then watch what happens. I think you'll like the results.
Kevin Stirtz is the “Amazing Service Guy". He is a customer service speaker and trainer who helps companies increase revenue and profits by delivering Amazing Service. Kevin has been quoted in such major media as BusinessWeek, the Boston Globe, Smart Money and the Chicago Sun Times. Get a free copy of his Amazing Service Toolkit at http://amazingserviceguy.com .