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How did you feel when they called YOUR name?

In the US, my name, Alon, is very rare as the origin of it is Israeli. It means an Oak tree in English and thank god I came out 6’4”…😊. I like the fact that it is different here in the US. I like when people ask me for the meaning of it or when they try to pronounce it right. A good ice breaker if nothing else. The problem with this scenario, however, is when my name is too rare. When you want to feel included, as part of a group – all the Brians please identify yourselves – and you can’t. It gets even worse sometimes when someone does recognize your rare name but refer it to someone else.

As mentioned in previous posts, the retail chains have done massive amount of research on the psychology of the customer journey and the customer experience. They KNOW how important it is to be personal. To call you by YOUR name and to make you FEEL special. Let’s take Starbucks for a second – “Ice Latte for Alon” (yes, that’s my drink – deal with it).

For me!! Alon. Hey that’s me!! They know ME. They got MY drink. Everyone else waiting in line looking at me with jealousy. SUCKERRRRSSSS!!! Right?? Feelings. Emotions. They know. They called my name. I am their customer and they know ME. By my name. This is what the back of our mind is processing when you FEEL that small rush of emotions when they mention your name. This is Emotional Relevance at its best as they keep triggering those emotions every time you go there. And that process, without you even knowing, gets you to want to go back there. Again, and again and again.

"Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name" Gary Portnoy (Cheers)

Yesterday I went there, to Starbucks, which due to the virus (that’s right, we are now calling it just a virus) there is only drive-through coffee. So, Starbucks, understanding the need for Emotional Relevance now instructed their employees, as they welcome you through the 2-way radio, to ask for a name for the order. You think you are just telling them your name but in essence, when you mention your name out loud to them, your mind is going through a similar emotional experience as when they call your name on your order. It is MY name. My order. And Starbucks wants to know MY name.

Interestingly enough, it reminded me of this girl Karen that was really upset one day when I went into a Starbucks in California (pre Virus days). I poked my head while waiting for my name to be called and she was edgy. She saw my questioning face, turned around, showed me her cup of coffee and said something like…”It’s Karen. KA-REN. Do I really need to spell MY name to them?”

One of the three elements of the importance of Emotional Relevance is to be Personal. Doesn’t really matter what you are offering or selling. If you want to be remembered. If you want your customers to have an emotional relationship with you that will result in much deeper level of loyalty, if you want Karen to FEEL like Karen and not like Kerry – be Personal.

Do you remember how excited you were when Coke came out with the names on the bottles campaign? Do you remember how you FELT when you actually found YOUR name on the bottle? This was Coke calling YOUR name. Being Personal with YOU, their customer.

Are you calling your customers by their name? Are you being personal with them? Are you making them FEEL you know them….Personally?

There is another Israeli guy named Alon who lives a couple of towns over from me. This Alon started Alon’s Bakery years ago and for the locals this has become one of the most sought-after places to get freshly made baked goods, great coffee and MANY other food items. This place is a real gem.

So, the other day when I ordered my “kids ice coffee” at Starbucks and they asked for my name (my mind was going – ME ME ME) I get all giddy and then the barista goes: “hey, are you the Alon from Alon’s Bakery?”

I paused for a second, remembered Karen, reached through the speaker, grabbed him by his shirt, pulled him over the counter, dropped him on the floor, beat the crap out of him and made him swear he would never think of ME as anyone else!! In my mind I was toying with that thought but in reality, I smiled and replied:” no, that’s another Alon. I know him. He is the nicest guy ever” and drove away.

I wonder how this barista guy will feel next time he calls MY(!!!) name…..

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