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Quote of the week:
"We are interested in others when they are interested in us" ­ Publilius Syrus, Roman Poet, 100BC.

Book of the week:

Count Me In! ­ 501 ideas on recruiting volunteers
Author: Judy Esmond Ph.D
Publisher: Newseason Publications.

Published in celebration of the International Year of Volunteers, this new release book contains a host of easy to implement ideas that have application for all organizations and businesses, both large and small.

Website link of the Week: A daily dose of lots of interesting links to everything thatšs happening in Cyberspace. If you are involved in e-commerce in any way, this site is a must to help you keep ahead of the game.

This week's customer service "Touchstone":
Name badges.

Even though I sort of half guessed what the answer might be, I went ahead and asked the question anyway.

"Why do you have Cardiff, Wales written under your name?"

"Cardiff is where I was born", replied the waiter.

The conversation then continued for a couple of minutes centering on how long she had been in Australia, why she had left Wales etc.etc. She also explained that everybody in the hotel had their birthplace inscribed on their respective name badges and how positive the idea had been creating conversation between guests and staff.

My meal was certainly all the more enjoyable for having had the conversation with our waiter and I am sure that the level of service and the size of our meals and drinks were larger than those of other diners that day. This example again highlights the fact that great customer service is not rocket science. It is mostly about creating enjoyable and meaningful relationships with people.

One of lifešs truths is that the sweetest sound to someonešs ear is the sound of their own name. One of the simplest ways of letting people know your name and the names of your staff is by using name badges. Badges come in all different shapes and sizes. Choosing one for your team needs to be in harmony with the overall style and image of your business. One of the common forms of badging for tradešs people is to have their name embossed on the front pocket or lapel of their shirt, jacket or overalls.

The effectiveness of name badges can be enhanced by practicing a few simple tips. Firstly, the most prominent side on which to wear a name badge is the right hand breast pocket. Why? Because most cultures shake hands using their right hand. As such people tend not to stand front on when greeting one another. If the name badge is worn on the left side, the person being greeted has to contort their neck around to the right in order to read it. The simple reason why most people tend to place their name badge on the left pocket is one of convenience as many types of badges have a clip designed to clip into a pocket. The reality is that most pockets are on the left-hand side. The key question however is this, "is the wearing of the badge for you or for your customers?"

The second tip is to have your first name in larger and bolder print than your last name. This achieves two ends. Having your name in large print gives your customers a better chance of reading it and if they can easily read it; they are more inclined to use it.

For example, most flight attendants wear name badges, however the problem that I have experienced is that the typeface is way too small and the color and design of the badges make them almost impossible to read in the subdued light of an aircraft cabin. As such, the purpose for their existence has been lost in the design process. Be careful not to fall into the same trap.

One of the keys to establishing rapport with customers is to develop communication on a first name basis as quickly as possible. The wearing of prominent name badges by all members of staff is one of the quickest ways I know of achieving this outcome.

Until next week, many happy customer returns!

Graham Harvey APS

Next week: Answering the telephone.

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