easy step towards better customer service

Alan Weiss recently made an excellent suggestion for a cheap and easy way to immediately improve a company’s customer service: Start addressing all of your customers by name. He added start by addressing them as Mr., Ms., Dr., etc. until you have been given permission to address them otherwise. Allow me to add that the key part of that is the second part: addressing them as Mr., Ms., etc. FIRST. By addressing people you don’t know with some respect, you gain permission to continue the relationship. This is different than networking, where everyone you are introduced to is most likely comfortable with, and expect, being called by their first name. The one word difference here is “expect”. I do not expect to be addressed by my first name by a clerk or a server I have never met before in my life, and am probably not thinking about starting a business relationship with. However, if they make the effort to discover my name (looking at my credit card, or maybe a simple, “How can I help you Mr?…”), and start by being respectful, I will quickly get comfortable and appreciate that this business “knows me”. Not treating your customers like objects or numbers (“ahh, sale #5 today!”) is always a good thing, but you need to do it right. Be respectful, they are interesting in doing business with you, not being your best friend.]]>

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