Playing the Name Game…and Why It Matters

MegI love sharing great examples of customer service.  I was visiting a new client in Foley, Alabama recently.  When I arrived at the hotel (a Holiday Inn Express), Meg, the front desk representative went about the normal check-in process with me.  When I told her my name, she said she had wondered when I would arrive because she graduated with another Kayla Barrett and was curious if I was “her”.  Well, I wasn’t her former classmate but we continued a brief chat as she completed the paperwork then wished me a good evening.

The experience was positive, friendly and one that welcomed me to my home away from home for a few days.

Then something really caught my attention on the second evening of my stay. As I was walking down the hallway toward the Megelevator I heard a familiar voice say, “Have a nice evening Miss Barrett.”  I turned around and it was Meg.

Wow.  From across the lobby this hotel representative 1) remembered my name, 2) took the initiative to speak to me, and 3) made me feel welcome after a long day.   That’s the remarkable aspect that took me by surprise.

Three things stood out to me which I believe can also be great service examples for others to follow:

Meg found a way to remember my name.
It started with a mix-up over her high school friend, but that little confusion likely placed my name in Meg’s mind. That small association became her cue even a day later after my arrival to the hotel. In your world, how often do you encourage your employees to find ways to intentionally remember customer and client’s names? It’s a key start to a positive interaction.

Meg chose to speak first to me in a moment I did not expect.
When I arrived back to the hotel from my day, I was tired and ready to relax.  I never expected to be called by name as I walked through the hotel.  And it made my day.  Meg could have easily focused on her tasks as I entered the property but she didn’t.  Instead, she was alert and watchful for the guests coming and going around her.  And then beyond that, she took the initiative to greet me.  What dynamic would be different in your business if every employee had this same focus?

Meg treated me like a guest in her home.
It is often said that we spend more time in our workplace than our actual homes which is probably true.  Meg took that reality and translated it in her interaction with me.  Her tone of voice, smile and body language genuinely welcomed me to her “home away from home”.  Could the same be said in your place of business?   Or do your employees view their workspace as simply a location for 8 or 9 hours until they can really go home at the end of the day?   The perspective matters.

In today’s crowded marketplace, customers want a relationship with service providers.  Imagine the difference if your organization focused its efforts to really learn the name – and even more – about your customers.  What difference would it make in your results?  What a fun question to answer.

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