Names Are A Big Deal
This post was originally published on Shep Hyken’s blog as a guest post and I wanted to share this with our readers as well. Hyken is a hall of fame speaker and customer service and experience expert and it was truly an honor to contribute to his blog. For exceptional customer service insight read Shep’s books, his blog and follow him on Twitter.
I have an ongoing issue that has been nagging at me for a while and I really need to get it off my chest. First of all, you should know that the name given to me at birth is “Jeremy Watkin.” That is the correct spelling of my name and there are no acceptable alternate spellings to my name. I just needed to lay down those ground rules before proceeding.
As a guitar player, I have been loyal to one guitar manufacturer who I believe builds fantastic guitars at a terrific price. I have been so loyal in fact that I have purchased four different guitars from them and referred many guitarists to them. Upon purchasing and registering my new guitar they would enter me into their CRM system and register me to receive their quarterly magazine. The magazine really is a terrific publication and highlights the amazing craftsmanship of their instruments.
Shortly after registering my last guitar, I started receiving not one, not two, but three of their magazines each quarter! The best part is that they were addressed to Jeremy Watkin, Jeremy Watkins and Jaremy Watkins. Adding an “S” to the end of my last name is relatively common but the last one is just a bad misspelling. I laughed the first couple times when I received three copies of the magazine and just gave the extra copies to friends.
After six months or so, I finally decided to call their customer service. The representative said he fixed my problem but he didn’t. I continued to receive three at a time. I called customer service again and they said they fixed the problem and I can happily confirm I now only receive one magazine. There’s just one problem. The magazine is addressed to Jaremy Watkins!
There are a couple opportunities to learn from this story that I would like to highlight.
A Person’s Name Is Important- Dale Carnegie is famously quoted as saying “A person’s name to them is the sweetest sound in any language.” Allow me to slightly modify that quote. “Misspelling a person’s name or modifying a person’s name without their permission might sound like a swear word to them in any language.”
First Call Resolution Is Important- It is essential that you train your customer service team to resolve customer issues on the first call as much as possible. Agents should take a few extra moments to check their work, review it with their customers and get it right the first time. Failure to get it right the first, second or even third time may exasperate your customers and give them reason to go elsewhere.
Fixing The Underlying System Is Important- It’s entirely possible that there is a flaw in the company’s CRM system that needs to be addressed. I should probably show up as one person owning three guitars rather than three slightly different people with the same address owning three guitars.
Names are a fundamental component to the customer service process and are critical to successful human interaction. By referring to your customer by the correct name you communicate value to them and it’s one critical ingredient in building a deeper bond between that customer and your brand.