wise elephant, making it happen

Hey, Remember Me?

By Sara McGuyer • Jul 8th, 2010 • Category: Analysis

I went to my bank, Marshall & Ilsley in Broad Ripple, the other day and something really strange happened. There was no one else in line and the two tellers were finishing up with their previous transactions. One of them looked up at me and said, “Hi Sara, I’ll be right with you.” WAIT – what? She used my first name? Which she obviously remembers from previous visits?

In a time when “personalized” is often achieved by an automated feature, like when your name is added to a letter via mail merge, this really floored me. I wondered, did the teller do this on her own? Or was it a part M & I Bank’s training and customer service policy to use the customer’s name if known?

It reminds me of erwin, one of my favorite restaurants in Chicago. I haven’t lived there since 2005, but when I did, I dined at erwin once every couple of months. I like to make it back there for dinner when I’m in the city, mostly because I love the food and seasonal menu. It doesn’t hurt that the same host has been there for years, he always remembers me and we have a nice chat. Even though I haven’t lived there in 5 years! I can’t imagine how many people have passed through the restaurant’s doors.

This is one simple thing you can do that won’t cost anything extra to do business – integrate remembrance into your customer service. It makes people feel good when you remember them.

Image Credit: mprinke

Sara McGuyer is an account strategist with Wise Elephant and marketing director/board member for the Indianapolis International Film Festival. Find her on twitter http://twitter.com/sara_mc
Email this author | All posts by Sara McGuyer

4 Responses »

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by sara mcguyer, wiseelephant. wiseelephant said: Hey, Remember Me? http://bit.ly/b52PUF [...]

  2. That’s a great story, Sara. When businesses big and small tend to the little things — remembering our names and adressing us by them — it makes a world of difference. Huntington Bank in Broad Ripple does the same thing. But I wonder whether that level of service is local (because you frequent one M&I bank over another) that the tellers have become accustom to you. I would say, yes.

  3. Hey Rodger, I definitely frequent one branch. Still, I find it interesting that a big bank headquartered in another state managed to feel local through a brief action from one employee.

    I think this strategy of customer service could go beyond remembering names. Mentioning that they haven’t seen you for a while, asking how you’ve liked an item or service you purchased previously, etc could also provide that warm-fuzzy feeling.

    Thanks for your comment!

  4. Yeap. You’re right. There’s a men’s clothing store in Bloomington with outstanding customer service that goes beyond knowing names. The owner takes notes of what customers buy, what they talked about during an encounter and keeps that information in a super, high-tech CRM — we call them notecards and file.

    When that customer return, he quietly reviews their card — especially if the customer is new — and then engages in conversation after they have had a few minutes to browse. He picks up the conversation where they left off — usually with a question. Given our technology today, I’d be floored if Penny, a teller at Huntington, actually reopened a conversation me that we started last week. While I’m already very happy with my bank, that would surely deepen the relationship.

Leave a Reply