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What’s the most beautiful sound to someone’s ears? According to the late Dale Carnegie, American writer and corporate trainer, it’s one’s own name.

As such, to build relationships with our customers and to make them feel important, because they are, whenever possible we should remember to use their name often.

On a recent American Airlines flight to Central America, I witnessed something appalling. One of the cheerless flight attendants was doing the rounds with her cart offering passengers a snack and a drink. As she reached the row next to me, to get the attention of the passenger by the window three seats away from her, she uninterestedly called out to the passenger: “Window?”.

Really? Calling a person by the name of an object? How would she have felt if someone had called her “Cart-pusher”? or “Aisle Walker”?

I was shocked. Passengers are the flight attendants’ primary customers. This attendant was obviously unaware that her paycheck is ultimately signed by every passenger seated all around her.

We wouldn’t expect flight attendants to know every passengers’ names. However, addressing the passenger with: “Excuse me (sir), what can I offer you?, we have….” would have been polite and shown the passenger some respect.

I’ve been at hotels where the host behind the reception desk hands me back my credit card with a smile and says “Thank you Mr. Gagnon, we hope you enjoy your stay”. It certainly made me feel special, respected and welcomed. Has this ever happened to you? How did you feel?

Anytime you handle someone’s credit card or other documents which include the customer’s name, it’s an opportunity to get personal. Use this chance to make the individual feel special by addressing him/her by name.

Even when dealing with familiar customers with who you have an established relationship, think about making a point to use their name in conversations. It’s like glue for the relationship.

Let’s endeavour to bring music to our customers’ ears by using their name often, and with a smile.


Service Providers:

Build rapport with your customers by addressing them by name and think about slightly peppering the interaction with their name as well.