Is it possible to use your customer’s name too many times?

When I worked in guest services at The Ritz Carlton, I noticed some employees had a tendency to overuse guests’ names. Unfortunately, after a certain point, it worked in reverse. (Especially in conversations under 7 minutes)

Name overkill doesn’t just happen in the hotel industry – it’s everywhere. Sure, we know people love to hear their names more than any word in the dictionary. But there comes a point where customers are thinking to themselves, “Alright, I got it. You know my name. That’s enough!”

Each point on this graph represents a single moment when a customer hears his name in a short (about 7 minute) transaction. Here’s how it makes him feel:

A, nada – “They didn’t even use my name once. I don’t feel valued.”

B, once – “Ahhh…the cashier said ‘Mr. Lynch.’ Man, you gotta love this store.”

C, twice – “Whoa! Two times! This salesman has a great memory. Now that’s what I call service!”

D, thrice – “Alright (mild chuckle) – I got it. You know my name. Thank you very much.”

E, four times – “No, seriously, you don’t have to keep using my name. The first two times were enough.”

F, five times – “This is ridiculous. And annoying. I no longer believe you are sincere. And now I’ve become uncomfortable. Please go away.”


Do you think certain people overuse customers’ names more than others?

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Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag


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Author. Speaker. Strategist. Songwriter. Filmmaker. Inventor. Gameshow Host. World Record Holder. I also wear a nametag 24-7. Even to bed.
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