Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Say My Name

You've had it happen to you before. You are checking out at the grocery store counter and the clerk looks at your store savings card or credit card and says, "Thank you for shopping with us Mr. Hennessy." Well, probably not the same last name but businesses have taken more notice of customer service. As competitive as things get in the world, you can only do so many things to bring a customer back. One of those is to offer them the cheapest price on the planet which will leave you to make barely enough to pay your employees. The second way is to give the aura of personalized service where everyone feels like Norm walking into the Cheers bar.

This doesn't always work though. My unnamable position at the big green building requires us to go overboard. We are required to say their name twice in conversation with them by penalty of supervised training courses. This can also make you feel a little more uncomfortable when someone keeps saying your name yet you don't know theirs and have never met them before. Sure, we are also supposed to sell them on every product in the building and show certain obvious features. What makes the situation silly and a customer service nightmare is when you are given the wrong name to address the person. Either it is a misspelling from an earlier transaction, someone else made their arrangements under a different name at the big green building or they aren't supposed to be there. But, if you spent a week somewhere and were called the wrong name at least 6 to 8 times a day, you would feel the incompetence level of the business is extremely high after correcting each person. Furthermore, you'd be pretty frustrated and want as little contact as possible.

Our parents work so hard to give us good names (then again, some don't) to enter our lives with. Many times we'll be asked our names as a form of introduction. Yet, a line should be drawn when they become thrown about haphazardly, misspoken or trivialized by people who are there to serve your needs.

7 comments:

BeckEye said...

Back in my department store days, we were required to say the customer's name if they gave us their credit card. What I thought was a bunch of crap though, is that they would tell us if it was an older person, we had to address them by Mr. or Ms. Whatever. If it was a younger person, we could call them by their first name. If you're old enough to have a credit card, you're old enough to be called Mr. or Ms. I never felt comfortable calling complete strangers by their first names after glancing at their cards. It just felt very fake to me.

Bar Bar A said...

What a cool baby name site! That was totally fun and now I have proof that my real name is outdated!!! It was popular in the 50's but after that no one in their right mind named their kid my stupid name.

As far as customer service...if the service is good they can call me whatever they want! I don't experience very good service in most places these days.

LoraLoo said...

I find in grocery stores I get that a lot. I don't mind it, but I don't really think it's necessary, because there is absolutely no relationship established there. On the flipside, when I go to a restaurant, for example, I try to call waiters/waitresses by the name on their nametag, because I'm spending more time with that person, and a "relationship" if you will, has been established. I feel it's a show of respect as the customer.

RT said...

I'm actually pretty freaky about service people I don't know using my first name. I don't know how to explain it, but it's almost like they are stealing private information about me from my card and using it against me (like trying to build a relationship that I may not want.) The fact that they usually say my name wrong, just makes it worse.

However! It does come in handy for them to try and use my first name when it's a telemarketer... My friends know how to say my name (or at least a close variation, lol.)

LoraLoo, I had to chuckle about your comment on waiters/waitresses. I did my time as one, and I always wondered how many people called me Trainee without even realizing that it wasn't my name... And of course, now that my name is Trainer, I wonder how many people I can confuse :o)

LoraLoo said...

RT: I wonder how many times someone's had the wrong badge on and I've done that?! LOL

Vavoom said...

Great post, Martin. Yes, it's absolutely annoying to go to the grocery store and listen to them mangle my name. "Thank you for shopping with us Mr. Vuvavoowm." Once again, Martin, you've pointed out an interesting facet to everyday life.

(There, I did it. I used your name twice!)

Teri said...

When I worked at Bellagio right before I left they started pulling that crap on us. We had to answer the phone, Thank you for calling Bellagio, my name is Teri, what is your name? I think it sounded so retarded and so did most of the guests. They were really annoyed and would yell at us, no you cannot have my name just connect me with Mr. so and so. They would monitor our phone calls and we had to use the customer name at least 3 times in a 2 minute phone call. I am so glad I don't work there anymore!