Think of all of the items you use that have your initials or even your name on them. And have you ever given a gift and had a name or initials put on it? Most likely you have. Certainly you've seen monograms on a variety of items. And we know that many catalog companies encourage us to put monograms on items.
So what does that have to do with customer service in your organization? I'm glad you asked. Has this ever happened to you? You're in the grocery store, pushing the cart to the checkout stand. The cashier appears to do a good job scanning your things. He tells you the total is $115 (the old "I just went in for butter, milk and eggs ... "). You pull out your checkbook, make the check out for $115 exactly, hand over the check, and ... nothing happens. Oh, wait. Something did happen. The bagger asked you if you would like paper or plastic.
What happened here was that no one monogrammed the event. You gave the cashier your check with your name on it - address and phone number too - and he still didn't monogram the event. He didn't use your name. He had it, but didn't use it. Had you given him cash, you might have been more understanding. (After all, we seldom, if ever, put our name on cash.) However, he did have your name and didn't use it!
If you know the name, use the name! It's that simple. When you're lucky enough to be given the customer's name, please use it. It makes the entire transaction a little friendlier and easier to handle, and it shows you care.
The difference is very apparent. I was on line to board a plane the other day, and the person taking the tickets used the name of every single passenger (with a big smile, no less). Because it's done so rarely, it made a big impression on me. Hey, I gave her my name, and by golly, she used it.
On the telephone, you won't get handed anything with a name on it, but chances are you'll have every opportunity to get a name and then use it. You'll be able to monogram the call. Listening skills come into play here, as evidenced by something that happened to me recently. I made a phone call, introduced myself and stated the reason for the call, and the next thing out of the person's mouth was, "Name?" I told him it was still Nancy. I hadn't changed it from seven seconds before.
So the question becomes: What do we do when someone gives us a name and we miss it? Good question! Telephone Doctor has a great technique for getting that name you missed. It's easy. Someone gives you his name and then continues on with the conversation. Unless you've written it down, you've probably forgotten it. So we take control of the call and say, "I know you said your name, and I apologize, but I missed it. My name is Nancy, and you are ...?" What we've done here is take responsibility of the situation. And we covered the objection ahead of time. Admitting he said his name and yet we did miss it is a crowd pleaser, let me tell you.
So remember: If you know the name, use the name.
'Til next time!
Nancy Friedman is president of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training in St. Louis. For more information, call (314) 291-1012.