Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Why Using Someone's Name Is Important

When I was small, I was very shy and my mum always used to struggle to get me to use peoples names when I said hello or goodbye. Saying "hello" was a push to little-me-at-5-years-old, so saying "hello Eugene" was often unfathomable. Every time I greeted someone, if I just said a quiet "hello", my mum would say "Hello who?" and I would then reply (if she was lucky) "hello Dolores" while clinging onto her leg or hand, looking down to the ground or hiding my face away.

Fast forward 17 years and I found myself sitting in a training session at the Four Seasons in Vail, being taught about the importance of greeting our guests by name and using their name in our interactions with them. I was no longer a 5 year old and I had become much better at greeting people by name (and remembering people's names), but this training session re-emphasised how important it was to use someone's name. It was so engrained in the company culture that not greeting guests by name felt incredibly wrong. Luckily, more often than not, we would at some stage either find out their name when they checked in to their spa appointment or restaurant reservation and you only had to remember someone's name for the duration of their appointment or meal. As a last resort you could get their name off their card at the end of their stay and then say something like "I hope you enjoyed your treatment Mr. So-And-So, I hope we see you again soon".

The idea behind addressing someone by name is very simple. It makes people feel important and valued and that they're a "someone", not a "no-one". If you make people feel important and valued and like a "someone" they're likely to think favourably of you (or your company) and therefore be more likely to want to interact with you (or your company) in the future. It's an easy way to make someone you just met feel important. And everyone wants to feel important. 

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