I’m not quite sure why they chose the above picture for Get to Know Your Customers Day. I would have taken a picture of someone paying for something in a small retail store. Hopefully you have a good memory of a local Mom and Pop store where your parents shopped and the owners called them by name, or you now have a friendly coffee shop where you don’t have to tell the Barista how you want your drink prepared or a bartender that sets up your beer as you walk in the door.
I’m a name nut. I can’t remember who sings what song, but I can probably tell you all the names of my high school class mates. Mind you, there were only 72 in my graduating class. I can even tell you which teachers were my older sister’s favorites. When my children were dating, they didn’t tell me about a new interest without being able to tell me who she/he was related to in our area because they knew I would ask. My sisters call to ask about family connections from our original hometown when they can’t remember.
I worked in a quilting fabric store for thirteen years. I could greet about half of the people that shopped there by first name. It’s easy for me and I believe it made each customer feel welcome and special. My boss might tell you I did too much personal talking with them. I might agree with her, but I bet most of them aren’t greeted that way now that I no longer work there. In fact, I had another of the employees tell me one day I made the rest of them look bad because I did use first names. When I think of that comment it makes me sad.
My memory is not just about names. I hear from friends and family that they enjoy what I share here; I write about people, passions and experiences that have become part of my life, some are pretty old.
The big box stores and on-line shopping have taken personal customer service out of our shopping experiences. And we all know, getting decent customer service via telephone is often unsatisfactory. There is an answer. Shop local, in privately owned stores. Introduce yourself to the owner and let them know they are meeting your needs. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to get to know each other’s names. I promise they will appreciate getting to know their customer.