A Simple Way To Make People Smile – What’s In A Name?

There is almost nothing sweeter than hearing the sound of your own name.  In a few (or many) letters, the entirety of your life exists.  Your name has been with you from the beginning, and remains with you every day.

Many jobs require employees to wear a name tag.  The cashier at the drive thru as you get your caffeine fix in the morning has one.  So does the teller at your bank.  And the employee at Home Depot, too (it’s often written on the aprons they wear).  Sure, it’s a requirement.  It is also an opportunity for you as a customer.  Life is often busy, and necessary errands become just a part of daily routine.  Your morning coffee helps you ease into the day with a bit of comfort and warmth.  You need to deposit that check so your bills can be paid.  The light bulb in your kitchen burned out and you didn’t have any more in the house.

Each scenario is aided by a real live person.  Bear with me if you e-deposit everything now.  The point is, each of us are human and we appreciate personal acknowledgement.  The people wearing name tags are likely working because they have to.  The cashier handing you your morning coffee may have woken up earlier than you in order to prepare the store for your arrival.  They likely see dozens of people a day who rattle off an order, swipe a debit card and leave.  Some may even say “Thank you”.  But consider this.  What if you said “Thank you, Matt”?  You just brought that person out of their fog simply by saying their name.  It’s true!  I’ve seen it firsthand.  I’ve seen a smile.  I’ve seen surprise.  I’ve seen a happier person than when I arrived.  Sure, it may be for just a moment.  That moment was created by you though.

There’s a good chance you go to the same place for your coffee every week.  The same staff likely works there too.  What happens then, when you repeat the process every time?  You build a repertoire and become familiar with each other.  They remember your order.  And you added a little positivity into the world simply by saying a name.  You also benefit.  You added a layer to your morning coffee run that enhances your experience.  Personal interaction with others and relationship building is a part of being human.  The relationship with a cashier may not be a core relationship, but it is a part of your life.

The same effect applies even when you don’t regularly frequent a certain establishment.  Remember, people love hearing their own name.  Taking a moment to recognize the person who is assisting you is an easy way to express gratitude for their time.  The next time you are out running those all-important errands, look for a name tag.  And give a personal thanks.

Writing to Companies – Delight the Customer

When I take the time to write to a company, I expect some sort of reply in return. Often it starts with an automated  “confirmation email” that reads something like Thank you for contacting us.  We have received your inquiry.  Your comments are very important to us and we will reply to you within two business days.  Then I may receive an email from a customer service representative that is clearly a form letter.  Or I receive an awesome personal reply that puts a smile on my face!  The following experience put a smile on my face.

I tried a new (to me) brand, Straw Propeller, on a whim.  I saw a small display of quick-prep oatmeal with adorable packaging.  Yes, packaging matters!  And if it’s pretty, cute, or clever it will catch my eye.  So I chose one cup of the oatmeal and place it in my shopping cart.  Later, I cooked it up with water and gave it a try.  The flavor is sweet and generous with actual fruit inside.  Some flavored oatmeal is often lacking in flavor.  You get a hint of “maple syrup” or “fruit”, but it’s more of an afterthought.  Not Straw Propeller.

So I wrote to them.  This is what I said:


As I write this letter, I am enjoying my very first Straw Propeller product – Apple Crisp Oatmeal.  I purchased it the other day, persuaded by the packaging and wholesome ingredients.

This stuff is really good!  I’ve had other oat products that I will never repurchase; this, I will.  I also think it will be well received by my little one too.  Thank you for a wonderful product.

They replied:

What an awesome rave,  thank you for taking the time to email us!  We love hearing from our customers.  My kids love the Oatmeal too so I’m sure your little one will enjoy it.  All of our flavors are kid friendly but we do have 4 products that are specifically marketed for kids (although adults love them too!)  Strawberry Jungle, PB & J (kids,) Peanut Butter Apple Muesli ( my families favorite,) and Cinnamon Raisin Muesli.  The Strawberry Jungle and kids PB & J have a reduced amount of sugar and the Muesli has no added sugar or salt.  The flavors are very kid palate friendly.  Make sure to follow us on twitter @strawpropeller and on Facebook, Straw Propeller.  We often run fun contests for a chance to win free product!  Thank you again for taking the moment to email us, we appreciate you!
Peace. Love. Oatmeal!
The reply I received was positive, acknowledged my personal email and was thoughtfully written.  Yes, I was encouraged to try other products from them (buy more!).  Then again, I already expressed my delight with their product so it makes sense that I would want to try another.  They didn’t include a coupon, which I would have liked.  I did not ask for one either.  That will be a whole other topic for another day, though.  Overall, I have a great impression of Straw Propeller.  Their oatmeal is made with good ingredients, it tastes great, and their customer service impressed me.  They did many things well, and it has earned them a happy customer.  Any reply from a company is good, but one with thought is always better.