Dale Carnegie once remarked that the sweetest sound to a person is the sound of his or her own name. Calling customers by name (and helping them learn yours) is a great way to establish rapport. Here are a few general tips:
Ways to learn names
- Ask your customer directly
- Get their name from paperwork such as an invoice or workorder
- Get their name from a credit card or identification if you are a cashier
- Hotel associates often capture names from luggage tags or valet tickets
First or last name?
In most situtations, first names are perfectly acceptable and increasingly preferred by customers. However, it's important to keep in the mind the "Platinum Rule: Treat customers the way they want to be treated." When in doubt, use their last name.
Another trick is to introduce yourself and ask for their name. If they just give their first name, you can call them by their first name. If they give their first and last name, call them by their last name until they invite you to use their first name.