Did you just spell your customer’s name wrong?


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“They spelled my name wrong again!” sings Loudon Wainwright III, the incomparable (if hard-to-spell) singer-songwriter.

In business, many of our customers with hard-to-spell names can relate to Loudon’s frustration of seeing “my name up there in lights”… and then noticing “it’s not spelled right.”

The insults we people in business do to customers’ names are legion.

• Misspellings

• Unsolicited shortenings and nicknames

• Mispronunciations (nothing’s more grating than a sycophantic salesman inserting your name into every other sentence… but doing so with the wrong pronunciation).

A happy event yesterday reminded me of the importance of getting the little details about your customers right. Pete Brace of Merrick Pet Care sent our four dogs some fantastic dog food and related awesome swag. It was an amazing care package; I’ve rarely seen our dogs so happy.

dogs go crazy in solomon home.

© 2012 Micah Solomon

But most impressive? Mr. Brace had spelled not only my name correctly in the cover note, but the names of each of our four dogs perfectly (Potter, Petey, CT, and Weasley, in case you collect keynote speaker trivia).

It’s true, in the age of cut and paste there’s almost no excuse for misspelling your customers’ names. Or getting their other little details wrong. Yet Pete’s perfectly-spelled cover letter remains the exception.

It’s hard to give extraordinary service if you’re not paying attention. A company like the Ritz-Carlton gets to know its guests–wherever they travel in the world– to the point of figuring out which side of the bed they prefer to have the corner turned down on at turndown time (yes, we each have a preference in this area — think about it). This gives a cared-for feeling that is hard for a customer (guest) to ignore.

This is the level of service I urge my audiences and readers to aspire to. But first, you have to get your customers’ names right. Or the game is up before it even starts.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Micah Solomon
Micah Solomon is a customer service consultant and trainer who works with companies to transform their level of customer service and customer experience. The author of five books, his expertise has been featured in Forbes, Fast Company, NBC and ABC television programming, and elsewhere. "Micah Solomon conveys an up-to-the minute and deeply practical take on customer service, business success, and the twin importance of people and technology." –Steve Wozniak, Apple co-founder.


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