Earning customer loyalty is ultimately about creating and maintaining relationships. Over 70 years ago Dale Carnegie wrote the very best book on building relationships, “How to Win Friends and Influence Others.” While the stories are too dated to be relevant for most people, the fundamentals defined by Dale Carnegie many years ago are still customer service gold today. Mr. Carnegie defined the six ways to make people like you:
- Become genuinely interested in other people.
- Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
- Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
- Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.
- Make the other person feel important and do it sincerely.
Over seventy years ago, Mr. Carnegie recommended making the other person feel important by using that person’s name. Common sense. But is it common practice? You decide. Let’s use your credit card as an example.
Be the Customer. A credit card is only a piece of plastic but it is very personal and valuable to you. Should you ever lose it, you would be panicking about identity theft or credit card fraud. When you make an in-person retail purchase, you hand a credit card with your name printed right on it to the cashier. In handing it back to you, the cashier may simply place it on the counter. To the cashier, it is simply a piece of plastic. To you, it represents money.
Following Mr. Carnegie’s advice, all a business needs to do to win a customer is to use the customer’s name at every opportunity. Seems common sense, But is it common practice? The last five times you used your credit card, how many times did the cashier use your name in giving it back to you? Rarely, if at all. An opportunity to embrace you, as a customer, is lost.
If I were a retailer, I would make sure that the card swipe would post the customer’s name on the mini screen in front of the cashier. I’d educate every cashier to hand the card, or if the purchase was contactless, then hand the bag with the purchased items to the customer, look to the customer to establish eye contact (trust) and sincerely say with a smile, “Mr. Customer’s Name. Thank you for choosing [Name of Company]. We really appreciate it.” That small wow would make a big difference in winning the customer.
QUI QUESTIONS: What are you doing to make your customer feel important? And what are you doing to make sure it is common practice?