C-Suite Network™

Cheers to Remembering Your Customers’ Names!


Do you remember the sitcom Cheers? It was a popular television show that started in 1982 and ran for over ten years. If you remember the show, you probably also remember the theme song “Where Everybody Knows Your Name,” which was also the theme of the entire show.

Now, I’ll bet you don’t resemble the character Norm, the accountant who loved beer, nor Cliff, the postman who knew everything, on the show. Neither do I! But a few weeks ago I frequented one of my favorite places, First Watch. On that particular day I wasn’t all that hungry so I ordered just a single pancake. Typically, when I add a pancake to my meal, the server charges me a dollar. But this time, when the server left the check on the table I noticed he had charged me five dollars – for a single pancake!

I was stupefied by the bill, so I asked about the high-priced pancake. I then learned there was as difference between adding a pancake and ordering just one for breakfast. Not only did the reason make sense, the server was very nice about it, so I was happy to accept the reason. The server then jokingly told me the next time I came in he was going to serve me a pancake for just a dollar. I laughed, thanked him and left him a nice tip for his great service and outstanding attitude.

Two weeks later we went back to First Watch for breakfast. That day we had a different server. (Sometimes on Cheers, Carla was your server, other times it was Diane.) I ordered my usual big breakfast. Surprisingly, a few minutes later the server came back with my plate. On it was – a single pancake! She said that the pancake was compliments of Tomas, the gentleman who took care of us the last time we were in for breakfast. I looked over and he gave me a wave and a smile.

I was impressed. First, you should know why I like First Watch. While the bar Cheers may have had great beverages and great service, First Watch consistently has great food and great service. The servers are always friendly. Nobody is perfect, but First Watch comes as close to perfection as you can get. That’s why I’ve been a consistent customer of theirs since they first opened their stores in St. Louis more than a dozen years ago. I always know exactly what I’m going to get.

But, now I have yet another reason. Like Cheers, First Watch remembers me. Actually, they didn’t remember; Tomas remembered me. But to me, Tomas represents the restaurant and all of the other employees. Tomas is the face of the entire organization.

The ability to remember your customers is huge. Why? Here are four good reasons.

  1. It makes your customers feel special. Who doesn’t like to be remembered and appreciated? On Cheers, Norm and Cliff were so remembered and appreciated, everyone else was careful not to occupy their chairs. 
  2. It makes the customer experience personal. I was remembered, but more importantly, I was given a special experience based on Tomas remembering the pancake. 
  3. It creates a connection with your customers. People like being around people they feel they know. The first step is to recognize and remember someone. 
  4. It increases the likelihood of a return visit. How often do you think that Norm or Cliff frequented the bar down the street? Or any other bar in the neighborhood, for that matter? Probably never. People like going to – and like going back to – places where they are remembered. It’s simply a big part of good customer service. 

Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, keynote speaker and New York Times bestselling business author. For information contact or www.hyken.com. For information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs go to www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken


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