After I wrote yesterday’s post, I couldn’t stop thinking about how sometimes the smallest actions have the most significant effect on the customer service experience. As I ran through different experiences in my head, I realized they shared a common theme: at our very core, we simply want to be acknowledged.

Consider these examples.

  • Years ago, I decided to trade my car and buy a new one. I took my then-boyfriend along for moral support and set about visiting car dealerships in search of the perfect vehicle. Unfortunately, the salesman at the place that interested me most wouldn’t talk to me. He addressed every question to my BF, even though I was the person with the checkbook. When he called later to follow up, he couldn’t remember my name. Guess who didn’t get my business.
  • Fast forward more than twenty years to another car buying experience. This time, my dad was with me—not because I needed moral support or advice, but because I needed a ride. The salesman did all right, but his sidekick in the finance department tried to direct his conversation to my male counterpart. In this case, however, my dad quickly set him straight in no uncertain terms. The experience took a turn for the better when I had the finance guy’s undivided attention.
  • Last weekend, I talked to a colleague who had recently purchased a new vehicle. When asked why he had chosen that particular make and model, he replied that it had all come down to the salesman. He had visited several dealerships, and only one salesman had remembered his name. Not surprisingly, that guy had also been able to answer all of his questions, but the name thing stuck with him more than anything. My colleague went with the guy who made him feel that he (his business) was important.

Although these examples all revolve around car buying, I can think of many more across all walks of life. Regardless of the scenario, they all boil down to one thing: the customer wants to feel important. Look at me. Listen to me. Acknowledge me. Recognize me. Remember my name. It may be a business transaction, but there are people involved. And whenever people are involved, it’s personal.

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