Creating 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 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.
While we would all agree that all this is common sense, is it common practice? Over seventy years ago, Mr. Carnegie recommended making the other person feel important by using that person’s name whenever possible. Common sense. But is it common practice? You decide. Let’s use your credit card as an example. Should you ever lose it, you would be panicking about identity theft. It is only a piece of plastic but it is very personal and important to you. Mr. Carnegie says to win friends simply use the person’s name. In other words, in order to build customer loyalty, at every opportunity, use the customer’s name. You hand a credit card with your name printed right on it to the cashier. Yet 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 info would post the customer’s name on the mini screen in front of the cashier. I’d educate every cashier to look at the screen or the credit card and then look back to the customer to establish eye contact (trust) and sincerely say, “Mr. Customer’s Name. Thank you for shopping at Name of Company. We certainly appreciate it.” That small wow would make a big difference.
So what are you doing to make your customer feel important? And what are you doing to make sure it is common practice?