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Say My Name: Can Using a Customer's Name Increase Brand Loyalty?

We are all customers. Therefore, we understand customers don't like to be treated like another face in the crowd, another purchase, or another order number. Customers truly enjoy a personable brand experience, one that makes them feel special and that their needs are being met. When brands show us that they take an interest in us, that they care, and that we are valued, it makes an impact.

An Average Experience Becomes Above Average

I've been going to the same dry cleaning shop for over 12 years. At first, I started going because they always had a coupon and were close to my house. The actual service was average. My clothes were clean, but occasionally they would lose a shirt or leave some treatment residue on another. They didn't seem to remember me, even though I came in every three weeks. They always had to ask for my phone number to look up my account. I was okay with that because, for me, it was just a task I needed to check off my to-do list – I wasn't expecting 5-star, luxury treatment.

When I moved to a nearby city several years ago, I tried a few new cleaners for a while but found that they charged more and the service was the same. Dropping clothes off at a dry cleaner was just another task on my to-do list and I didn’t have any brand loyalty. My decision of choosing one over another was simply based on price and convenience.

One day, I went to visit my parents, who lived closer to my original dry cleaner. I happened to have clothes with me that needed to be cleaned, so I stopped by. As you can imagine, I expected the same service that I had always received.

When I walked in, the woman behind the counter smiled and said, "Hi, Tiffany, we haven't seen you for a while." I was shocked. I had no idea that they knew my name; let alone remembered my face.

She and I chatted for a bit, and I explained that I moved about 20 minutes away. When I came back to pick up my clothes, we spoke some more, and when I left, her husband held the door open, carried my clothes out to my car, and helped me load them in the trunk.

Brand Loyalty: Convenience vs. Exceptional Service

That little extra bit of customer service didn’t cost a penny, and it made all the difference in the experience for a business as simple as a dry cleaner. Addressing me by my name, making that personal connection through a short conversation, and helping me to my car made a huge impression. It is a comforting feeling, and it makes you feel appreciated, especially as a repeat customer. I drove away smiling.

After that day, I started making the 20-minute drive every other week to do all of my dry cleaning with them. It's not convenient, but I go out of my way to take my business to that location.

That single interaction with me has increased my loyalty. That genuine and personable customer service can be given to every customer. Making someone feel significant and appreciated can go a long way.

In either your personal or professional life, where can you apply the small but essential gesture of addressing or interacting with someone in a personal way?