On a recent summer roadtrip, we stopped at a national fastfood chain for lunch. Placing our simple order, I waited for a “Thanks. Is there anything else?” Instead I got a dramatic eyeroll from the teen cashier, followed by “You are?”
I was so taken aback I replied, “I’m what?”
This was followed by an even more outrageous eyeroll, a disgusted huff and “What’s your name?”
“Why do you want my name?” I asked.
“It’s for you order,” she answered back in a tone that left no doubt she thought I was one fry short of a full meal deal.
I mumbled “Lori” and shuffled back to wait with all the other hungry, befuddled, yet named travelers.
A good five minutes later a different teen appeared at the counter with a tray laden with food and shouted “Bree!”
No one come forward.
Looking around from one side to the other in the room, she again yelled out “Bree!”
By this time Big Al had joined me. Nudging my side, he whispered, “That’s our food.”
Whispering back I replied, “That’s not my name!”
Our standoff ended peacefully a minute or two later when I stepped forward and claimed the meal. Of course she asked if I was “Bree” and I told her no. The initial teen was summoned and verified I was the rightful owner.
Long story to simply say, yes – people like to hear their name. I appreciate whomever at the restaurant believed it was a good idea to implement the “name with each order policy.” More importantly people want you to listen.
I think one of the strongest elements of any public relations effort is the conversation. It can take place face-to-face, over the phone, in a social media forum, or by email. The most important aspect of any conversation is when someone is listening.
A good “conversationalist” is most often the person who listened more than they talked.
Know your customers. Ask them their name, if you don’t know it…and listen when they tell you.