There’s a really quick and easy way to earn respect, and it is this:  get a person’s name right from the start.

You can cut through the crap, and build a sensational rapport by listening and repeating the other person’s name right, from the start.

I had to speak with multiple representatives of two insurance agencies today. Unfortunately, what I’m about to share with you is a common occurrence for me, no matter which organisation I need to talk with. During my two phone calls, I spoke with 3 people. Two men and a woman.  

At the commencement of each conversation, I told them my name was Marie-Louise, and policy details.  

The first guy

I spoke with immediately said, “okay, Marie.” I was already a bit peeved (at having to call them) but I tried to let it go. But, as so often happens with companies these days, he’d been trained to use the customer’s name repeatedly. So, when he kept using only half my name, it got me more and more pissed off. It’s so disrespectful.  

It really set the tone for the conversation, and if you think about it, calls to an insurance agency for anything positive and fun would be rare. So, it’s already a crappy situation, which can be made better or worse, depending on how it’s handled.  

The Second Agency

Well, this call started with a woman who was lovely, and she made a point of repeating my name back to me. Excellent. 

She had to pass me on to another rep, who asked me my policy number and my name. Again, I said, “my name is Marie-Louise.” Just as with the other guy, he immediately abbreviated it. This time, after he said it several times, I said, “I’ve told you, my name is Marie-Louise.” Do you know what he said? “Okay Marie.” So I had to say it again, “no, it’s Marie-Louise.” Infuriating. Only then did he apologise. I try to be polite, but really, I shouldn’t have to even correct them, and me being polite is about my character correcting theirs.  

There’s one thing worse than both of these guys not using the name I’d just told them. That is that, at some stage during the call it would have been displayed on their screen!! So there’s no excuse for it. It’s bad manners, or bad training. Either way, they can be corrected.  

Tonight, I sent a query through Messenger to a business with whom I haven’t yet had contact. They replied, ‘Hi Marie.” Grrr!!   

I recommend that if: 

 you’re listening to someone, and they tell you their name, use it.  
 the name they tell you is hyphenated or double barrelled (eg. Maryanne) and they introduce themselves using both names, use both names!!   
 they tell you two names, and then say, but you can call me Mary, then they’re giving you permission to abbreviate
 they say their name is Jonathan (for example), don’t abbreviate it to John. It’s not right to do that! It’s being overly familiar much too prematurely. It’s not your place to do that, no matter how well you think you know them, or how quickly you’re trying to get to know them. 

This applies to email and text also. It always applies. And if you’re not sure, ask, “may I call you John?” And if they say no, then you call them Jonathan.  No arguments. 

Trainers-

teach your staff to correctly identify the customer, and pay  and earn respect by using the name they provide. Keeping your seconds per call rate down will not help your business if you lose customers.  

People have said to me, ‘don’t worry about, why does it matter?’ It matters because it’s my name, the first insight into my identity, which I’m sharing with you. And you’re abusing it. How about you show some respect and not only pay attention to what I’m saying at the top of our interaction, but then pay me the respect of using it. Not doing it sends a hugely blatant message.  

It’s well documented that a person’s name is the sweetest thing they can hear, so to get that wrong therefore has the opposite effect, especially when it’s so easily avoided. 

If this post helps you, or you know someone who rarely has their name pronounced properly, share it with them! Leave a ♥ and if you have experience with this, leave it below.  

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Xx
Marie-Louise 

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