Join Jeff Toister for an in-depth discussion in this video Getting customers to know your name, part of Innovative Customer Service Techniques.
- You've probably heard that it's a good idea to call customers by name. It makes them feel important and helps build rapport. Here's an interesting twist on that concept. It turns out that it's even more important for customers to know your name. There are several studies that have revealed this trend. Here's an example from a study I conducted in partnership with Zendesk, a company that provides customer service software. Zendesk was able to look at thousands of customer service surveys. The data showed that customers are likely to give a higher rating when they mention an employee by name in the comments section.
To understand why this works, think about your favorite place to be a customer. It might be your local coffee shop, your bank, or the person who cuts your hair. Chances are you know at least one person there by name. When this happens, we start thinking of that person as more of a friend rather than just a customer service employee. That in turn makes us more likely to have a favorable view of their service. So, how can you make sure your customers know you? Here are a few tips. You can introduce yourself to customers. We see this in restaurants all the time, but it works well in many settings.
People can forget names quickly, so you can also find opportunities to re-introduce yourself to your customers to gently remind them who you are. Calling customers by name is another great way to help customers learn your name. People might make an extra effort to learn who you are in an effort to be courteous. You can help customers remember you by giving them your business card. Many customer service professionals have them, including restaurant servers, retail associates, and almost anyone in professional services. I've even seen janitors leave behind business cards on customers' desks, since their customers rarely see them in person.
You can deepen the connection by offering to be your customer's point of contact. For example, contact center agents often give customers their personal extension so customers can follow up with them directly. You can make it easy for customers to remember your name by making sure it's visible, whether it's a name tag, a desk plate, or even a small sign, anything that has your name on it can make it easier for customers to remember who you are. Finally, the best way to be memorable is to be yourself. Nobody likes a robot, so use your unique personality to create a personal connection so your customers can't help but remember your name.
I'd like to give you one last tip. Helping customers learn your name is no shortcut for great customer service. Unfortunately, I've seen some people make the mistake of just focusing on teaching customers their name. The real secret is to be someone who your customers want to know because of the way you serve them.
- Identifying the most important customer need
- Making wait time more bearable
- Improving your power of observation
- Avoiding directed attention fatigue
- Increasing teamwork