Go the extra step – use their name

In my last article I wrote about an example of terrible customer service. I hate to focus too much on the negative so I want to give you an example of exemplary customer service.

I was in China recently and I spent a few days at a hotel in Shanghai. It was a hotel that offered an ‘Executive Lounge’ for guests staying in certain rooms. This is a fairly standard arrangement in many hotels around the world. You pay a little extra and you receive a few little benefits – such as access to the lounge; free drinks in the lounge; snacks throughout the day; access to meeting rooms; etc. I am sure you are familiar with the type of arrangement.

What impressed me most about this particular hotel was something incredibly simple. They knew my name. I checked in at the hotel downstairs and by the time I had arrived at the Executive Lounge upstairs, I was welcomed by my first name. To this day I am unsure how they did it. And it continued throughout the rest of my time at the hotel. It was almost as if every staff member in the hotel was issued with my photo and told to remember my face and my name.

Now this may only seem like a small insignificant item – but it achieved its purpose. It made me feel like an honoured guest and made me feel like a person rather than a number. And the total cost to the hotel to deliver this superior service was minimal (remembering that I don’t actually know how they did it).

In the MSP business, you can replicate that exact situation. Your PSA package will undoubtedly have details of your client’s essential infrastructure and any nuances with their particular network. I am sure your technicians spend a great amount of time ensuring that all the details for a client’s network are kept up to date in your PSA software – and that is essential. Think about this though. How much extra effort would it take to have a few details about the individuals you typically deal with at a particular organisation? Maybe even a couple of photos of key personnel along with names. Any time a tech is about to go on-site to visit a client, I am sure they check the details of the network and look for any specific LOB applications they need to be aware of. Imagine if the tech also checked the photos on file of key personnel and turned up on-site armed with that additional information. A new tech arrives on-site and walks past the CEO and greets him by his name! That would be incredibly powerful. And, with modern technology, relatively simple.

In his book How to Win Friends and Influence People Dale Carnegie says that “the fundamental act of calling other people by their name puts you solidly on course to establish a sincere relationship with that person.” It may not seem like much, but it does make a difference.

I recently had the opportunity to meet with the full board of directors of a public company. There was a pack mentality with me against more than a dozen heavyweights of this particular industry. I was asking for a lot and they weren’t keen to budge. During the course of the meeting the point was driven home to me that this organisation relies heavily on relationships. I quickly went back to my Tablet where I had written the names of each board member as they were introduced around the table. I memorised their names during the course of the meeting and as I left the meeting I made a point of shaking the hand of each board member and thanking them – being sure to use their name. The impact was profound. I could actually hear some of the board members I had already thanked whispering about the fact that I had remembered each name despite the fact that I was only introduced once and the meeting went for three hours. The relationship suddenly stepped up a notch through one simple gesture on my behalf.

You have the technology – I believe you can significantly enhance the customer experience when dealing with your company by just asking your staff to engage a few small key strategies to use the name of each of your clients whenever the opportunity presents itself. The clients will be amazed by the customer service experience.

Tell me the best customer service experience you have ever seen at [email protected].

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