Thursday, May 28, 2015

Give a Name- Get a Name

When I had astay in the Ohio State Wexner Center east Hospital a couple of
weeks ago, I saw and experienced some customer service that was excellent. Everyone who came to see me introduced him or herself first so I had a name to use as well as got a sense that they were caring about me. They would come into the room and invariably say “Mr. Raisman, I am ______ and I am going to_______.

This is the concept I have been promoting for years now which I call Give and name-Get a name. The process is simple but so very effective.

Every time you interact with a student give her your name and what you do before you ask if you might be able to help them. By giving out your name you have created a small bridge to a community of two. You have provided one of the most important information that anyone can give out- your name. Names are very important and they are powerful.  There are some cultures that realize this and do not use their given name. They use another name because if someone got the actual name, they could have power over them.

Another simple example of how powerful a name can be. When I was doing a customer service audit of a college recently, I needed to stop, consolidate my notes and get a cup of coffee.  I went to the school cafĂ© and saw that the server’s (I can’t call anyone a barrista) name was Alice. So I just said “Good afternoon Alice, I am Neal and I would like a cappuccino please”. She looked at me for a few seconds and then made the coffee. She handed it across the counter and I went to pay. She refused money. “You are the first person to use my name and I really appreciate that. You realized I am a person. Coffee is on the house”.

You can see the power of names when you go out to eat next. Actually look at the server’s name and use it. You will find that you get better service than someone who just refers to the waiter as “Oh waiter”.

Once you have given out your name, ask the student or other person you are dealing with what his name is.”Hi I am Neal, and I am a consultant. And you are….” There may well be a pause before the student responds but that is out of shock that someone would want her name and not just a number. Once the student recovers from good service, she will tell you her name and then use it.

“Okay Helen, what can I try to help you with?”

This give a name-get a name technique works particularly well with students who are upset. Being upset or angry requires that the student keep that level of anger going and see you as just a functionary in the college. By giving your name you are saying I am not just an employee, I am a person with a name and feelings. That is often enough to break the flow of anger and allow you to work with the student.

Try the give a name-get a name technique and increase your service, your ability to work with students as well as making you fell better. Using your name will give you a feeling of greater importance and value to yourself as well as to others.


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