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How important is it to use your customer’s name?

How do you break through all the noise and clatter for your customer’s attention? There is one word that immediately commands someone’s attention: their name.

We are conditioned from birth to respond to our own name. Even if you have a common name, you still instinctively turn around when you hear it called.

When I was growing up in Australia, there was a show called Romper Room. During a part of the show, Miss Helena would come close to the screen with her “magic mirror” and pretend to be looking at all of us kids. Then she would start mentioning names.

If she ever mentioned “Matthew”, I was on cloud nine for a week. Here’s a clip of the show to give you an idea of the impact of hearing your name.

In a study published in Brain Research magazine, certain parts of our brain light up when we hear our own name. Not when we hear other’s names. Only our own.

Recalling and integrating your client’s name into a conversation – not to be overused – is very important for a few reasons.

Here are my top 5:

1. Names are unique identifiers. Dale Carnegie said it best, “A person’s name is to that person, the sweetest, most important sound in any language.” According to the brain research mentioned earlier, hearing our names lights up different parts of our brand that no other words do. Our names prompt specific and unique responses in our minds that are powerful associations for anyone to use. Everyone responds to being known by name.

2. Brings you back into the conversation. If you’re actively listening to your customer, the best way to get back into the conversation is by using his or her name. Because people respond so strongly to hearing their name, you’ll get your customer’s full ateention and they’ll tend to listen more closely to your thoughts and ideas. It’s a much smoother way of integrating yourself back into the conversation.

Two business colleagues at meeting in modern office interior

3. People tend to like you more. We all want to be known. A great way to convey that feeling of being known is to consistently use someone’s name in conversation. It makes your words more personal and is interpreted as being caring and empathic. Naturally using your customer’s name will build strong bonds that are hard to break.

4. You’ll appear more competent. A lot of people struggle to remember names, and you appear more competent in your customer’s eyes if you can remember their name easily and correctly. First impressions mean a great deal, and it demonstrates that you take them and their business seriously when you use their name.

5. Helps to build loyalty. I have a favoruite bike store that I frequent because the customer services reps call me by name. There are stores closer to my home that might have a better selection, but I still frequent this one store because of their personal treatment. Using a person’s name makes them feel important and validated, strong feelings you want your customer to feel during any interaction.

But, be warned

One caveat to the importance of using your customers’s name is to not use it too often. If overused, it can come across as insincere and condescending, and the last thing we want to do is confuse our clients.

While there aren’t any rules about how often to use your customer’s name, here’s a trick to make sure you’re using it just the right amount.

Pay close attention to your customer’s body language and facial expressions every time you use his or her name. Do they relax and smile when you say their name? Or do they frown and appear tense or irritated? If they have the latter response, you may want to forego using their name for a while.

Next time you’re introduced to someone, focus your attention completely on that person, say their name out loud and ask them a question. This gives you time to anchor their name in your memory. Say their name silently 3 times and create a mental peicture associating their name with something important to you.

Always end every conversation by using your customer’s name. It’s natural to connect with people, and using your customer’s name makes your relationship more intimate and friendly. It’s also natural to be caring and concerned enough to learn someone’s name and known when and how to use it.

At Natural Training, we excel in personalising each and every training program to our customer’s needs and goals. When you choose the Natural way, everyone here knows your name.

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