“There she/he is!”
Is this how you greet a person when you can’t remember their name? And it’s an extremely common habit people seem to have. “Oh, sorry, I’m terrible with names,” has been an excuse that has become widely accepted, even in the business world. However, Customer Think writer Shaun Belding points out that it can result in a huge hole in your customer service strategy.
He gives the example of, “Someone once explained the principle to me in the form of a simple question. ‘If I were to tell you that my name was Frederica, and that if you can recall my name an hour from now I would give you a million dollars, do you think you would remember it?’ My answer, of course, was a resounding yes. So, why would I remember it in this situation? Because, she explained, it was important to me.”
Are your customers not important enough to you to remember a single word? Here are some tips Belding recommends to help you stand out by having an excellent memory of names:
- Repeat it
Repetition is key for memory and mastery. It’s how we were taught to learn in school and how we commit things like songs to memory. So, when someone introduces themselves to you, say, “It’s nice to meet you, Tom.” Then, occasionally work it into conversation later. “That’s a great idea, Tom.” “Tom, would you like to sit with us?” Don’t be creepy about how many times you use the customer’s name, but casual repetition in the initial stages will help you remember your customers' names later when they reach out to you for help after the sale is completed.
- Look for it
Many names have numerous ways of being spelled, and, let’s be honest, parents are only getting more creative. Kailey, Kali, Kayleigh, which one is it? Be on the lookout for how to properly spell a customer’s name. Get in the habit of taking business cards, study the signature at the end of the emails they send you, or look them up on LinkedIn. People take offense to having their names misspelled, especially if they know you’ve seen it in writing before. Spell your customers' names properly.
- Write it down
As hard as we try, not all of us have the memory capacity to be able to recall each and every one of our customer’s names without help. That’s why you need to write it down. After you learn a client’s name and how it’s spelled, write it down. That way you can easily access the information along with their company name, position, what you sold them or how you met, and others about who they are. That way you can you their name during customer service interactions later. You also have some notes about possible conversation starters to further personalize your interactions.