We are “Customers”, aren’t we? Actually, yes, we are, but we are also people, individuals with names. How do you feel when someone says your name wrong, spells your name wrong or worse still, doesn’t even remember your name?
It’s just good manners isn’t it to get it right? Now I understand that in today’s dynamic, diverse and creative world, that some names are difficult to say. But how difficult is it to say the word “Customer”? Apparently its quite difficult!
Why oh why oh why do so many people and organisations not even refer to their customers as customers never mind use their names? We are not participants, recipients, or punters, we are not passengers, we are not clients, consumers, or shoppers, we are not transactions, buyers, or purchasers we are not just stakeholders;
We are your customers! We are individuals.
One of the simplest first steps in helping your customers to feel valued and connected to you and your organisation is to refer to them as customers. It’s not difficult to say, so please give them the respect they deserve and refer to them as the valued customer they are (or should be?)
Did you know that we have over 280 different names for customers over than customer?
So, what is a customer? A customer is someone who buys into the product or service you are offering. They are the person who gives you or influences someone else to give you a product or service for which you pay money. Money that pays your wages, money that keeps you in a job, money that keeps a roof over your head, enables you to feed yourself and your family.
Pretty important people don’t you think, so perhaps we should execute good manners and refer to customers as customers at least?
So how do we feel if we are not called a customer?
Let’s pick on the most obvious one, Passenger!
So when is a passenger not a passenger, when they are customer. Look at the definition of customer every time we pay to travel on a train, plane, bus or even in a taxi we come a customer. We are not a passenger designed for airlines, train operators, or bus operators to simply extract more revenue, and often made to feel like a burden to be carried and transported. We a valuable customer who pays your bills, just using that more meaningful word we immediately feel more valued.
But is calling a customer a customer enough?
Well it’s a good start isn’t it, but is it enough, absolutely not, we have names too don’t we?
Now whilst I understand we may use the word customers to refer to a group of valued people who buy our products or services, these groups of people are made up of individuals. Individuals who have a name.
What difference would it make to your customers if you referred to them by their name. Is it ok to say “Dear Customer” no its not, Is it ok to say “hello Sir”, “hello Madam”, “Welcome aboard sir”, “welcome aboard madam” no its not? We need to make it personal! Over 70% of customers expect a personalised experience as a minimum. In the US alone $83 billion was lost last year in businesses due to lack of personalisation. In the UK it cost us £37 billion. A pretty good reason to get to know your customers and make them feel personally connected to you and your business and brand isn’t it?
What’s in a name?
Names are the sweetest and most important sound in any language. Our brains become ecstatic when we hear our name called, drawing our attention immediately to the sound.
Names humanise interactions.
So, for goodness sake please refer to customers as customers and get to know their name, but get it right won’t you?