What’s in a name?


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steveLast month I worked with a multinational retailer whose internal customer satisfaction survey analysis revealed some interesting findings: when they can recall an employee by name, customers’ overall satisfaction is 20 percent higher (from 69 percent to 89 percent) and their likelihood to return is 11 percent higher (from 76 percent to 87 percent).

The data also reveals that nearly half of all customers (47 percent) don’t encounter an employee on the sales floor. During my presentation at this retailer’s regional conference, I advised store leadership to set a positive example for their employees by being intentional about initiating customer encounters on the sales floor and by being purposeful in displaying and offering their names to customers. I wrote about ways to initiate customer encounters in an earlier blog post. Today, I’d like to focus on displaying and offering names.

Nametags are common throughout the service industry. So common are they, that many service providers don’t really think about them. I know this to be true because every other month, I review 80 pages of mystery shopper evaluations for a local shopping center. And every review period I see points deducted because employees are not wearing visible nametags.

The best companies are not casual when it comes to nametags. They recognize the importance of names and make employees’ nametags a part of the uniform standard. In other words, if the employee is not wearing a nametag, he’s out of uniform – just as if he was wearing sweatpants rather than slacks or flip-flops instead of dress shoes. Wearing a nametag also reassures customers that employees are, in fact, employees. (This is especially crucial in situations where employees work in security or enter customers’ offices or homes.)

Once the nametag is consistently worn, employees must be deliberate in offering their name to customers. Doing so has several benefits: it has the potential to elevate a transactional exchange to a relational experience, it reinforces the customer’s confidence that he will have a positive service experience (otherwise, why would the employee have offered to share his name?), and according to the above analysis, it may result in double-digit increases to overall customer satisfaction and likelihood to return.

So, what’s in a name? Lots of really positive stuff. So don’t be nonchalant about wearing nametags or offering your name to customers. Doing so separates extraordinary service providers from their ordinary counterparts.

Don’t settle for ordinary. Choose extraordinary. (It’s always a choice.) Order Delight Your Customers: 7 Simple Ways to Raise Your Customer Service from Ordinary to Extraordinary by Steve Curtin or purchase from select retailers, including Barnes & Noble.

Watch the 90-second book trailer.

Illustration credit: Daniel Ruesch Design

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Steve Curtin
Steve Curtin is the author of Delight Your Customers: 7 Simple Ways to Raise Your Customer Service from Ordinary to Extraordinary. He wrote the book to address the following observation: While employees consistently execute mandatory job functions for which they are paid, they inconsistently demonstrate voluntary customer service behaviors for which there is little or no additional cost to their employers. After a 20-year career with Marriott International, Steve now devotes his time to speaking, consulting, and writing on the topic of extraordinary customer service.


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