|The Awkwardness of Customer Personalization
By: Bernard Harrell
Some companies have taken it upon themselves to personalize the customer service experience by calling their customers by name. On the surface it appears to be a great idea and engaging to the customer, but in reality it’s pretty weird.
On an average Monday, business is usually fast-paced. Customers are rushing in and out of their establishment of choice for a quick cup of coffee or a bite at their favorite restaurant. Under these types of circumstances, everyone is in his/her own head thinking about that big project that’s due, advancing their careers, family, etc.
But now the cashier shockingly asks you for your name, and poof — you might pause for a second because it didn’t happen to you the last time you were there. Then you might think either she's/he’s flirting with you, or you’re the unexpected co-star in their leading act to smooth things over with the manager.
That’s one of the major issues with this fickle policy. It’s inconsistent and insincere. You can tell that the employee is just doing his/her job. Also, it’s almost an impedance on our privacy because most people provide this information out of shock. Then it becomes disheartening once you realize it was a rushed attempt at providing a personalized service, because shortly after, your name is shouted amidst a large crowd of people as if you were a part of some sort of round up.
Maybe this would work with exclusive club members of some sort. People who take the initiative to become affiliated with a company deserve this kind of service, but for the day-to-day consumers, it’s a bit out of touch. This is different for small businesses, because less traffic leaves room for small talk, and if you’re a regular customer, small talk becomes commonplace with you and your servers.
Bernard Harrell is an aspiring entrepreneur. He believes in the power of simplicity, and that the smallest idea, or person, can change the world.
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