What to Do When You Forget a Customer’s Name?

As a small business owner, you will probably meet dozens of new faces every day if you have a public business, and even if you’re serving a smaller clientele, you will see enough new people that it can be hard to remember everyone’s name.

For businesses that don’t have size on their side, personality is one of the main selling points of your business over the one down the street, and part of this is treating everyone like a good friend.

If you remember a face but forget the name, it’s easy to get flustered and “um” your way through a conversation, making both of you feel awkward. No matter how bad you naturally are with names, you can learn to recover from these situations with grace, a good sense of humor, and the tips below.

A positive attitude is everything

The first time you meet someone is the best time to make sure their name makes an impression. Don’t let yourself make excuses by thinking you’re bad with names or you’ll never remember it; this will turn out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Instead, tell yourself that you will definitely remember this person’s name, because they’re important to you.

Don’t get distracted

Remember, if you’re trying to process a lot of information at once, none of it will sink in. This is why cramming for a test doesn’t work, and why you shouldn’t have important conversations in distracting environments. Focus completely on the person you’re with. This is great customer service and will mean your brain prioritizes things like your customer’s name.

Repetition, repetition, repetition…

The more times you see or process the name, the more firmly it will stick in your mind. Make sure you use this person’s name at least three times if possible: immediately, when you make your introduction and say how good it is to meet them, in a question, and when you say goodbye. If you only have one or two sentences with them, don’t do this or you’ll overdo it and they’ll think you’re strange, but it should be easy to slip into a longer conversation.

Associate it with something

A name out of the blue doesn’t mean anything, but if you remember that Joe likes a good cup of joe (your coffee-loving customer who never comes in before noon), it will immediately became that much easier to remember them. A physical feature is even better, such as Nancy with a large nose. Visualize it in the most unusual way possible.

Bring up the details

If your customer comes back and you’ve forgotten their name, bring up things you do remember. You might remember their name partway through your chat, and if worst comes to worst and you have to admit (with good humor and a joking tone at your own poor memory) that you’ve forgotten their name, they’ll know that you do remember them.

Above all, remember that most people will not get offended if you don’t remember their name after the first time you meet them. As long as you don’t take it overly seriously, it’s fine to share a laugh at yourself (often, the other person will admit that they have a poor memory for names, too!) and reintroduce yourself.

Your valued customers will know that you care about them based on how you talk to them, not just remembering their names, but it’s even better if you can remember. You might surprise yourself with your ability to remember names once you’ve practiced enough!

Author Credits ::

Guest post contributed by Sarah Lagan for Desk.com – Desk.com helps companies engage customers socially, using simple online help desk software.