While working as a waitress, I noticed that my manager had a very specific way of interacting with customers. The methods he employed seemed to abide by many of Carnegie’s (2016) rules laid out in ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’.
Use of names, being genuinely interested, and making the other person feel important:
Regardless of how rarely someone came to his restaurant, the owner seemed to remember everyone’s names. I recall him doing this with my own parents when we went to eat there after not having been for over 10 years. He remembered not only their names, but their family and occupations. By doing this, customers feel valued and important. This is intensified by being directly spoken to by the owner, as they feel valued at the highest level of the organisation. By being spoken to as a friend, customers feel they have a genuine relationship with the owner, and therefore feel a commitment to return to the restaurant. Research has backed this up, with Howard, Gengler, and Jain (1995) showing that remembrance of a name is perceived as a compliment and can increase compliance.
When I began to work at this restaurant, I was encouraged to adopt a similar strategy. Although I was never expected to remember everyone’s name, listening, smiling, and showing interest in the customer is always expected in this line of work, and leads to customer commitment and satisfaction.
Carnegie, Dale (1936), How to Win Friends and Influence People, New York: Simon & Schuster.
Howard, D. J., Gengler, C., & Jain, A. (1995). What's in a name? A complimentary means of persuasion. Journal of Consumer Research, 22(2), 200-211.