Positively Outrageous Service

Positively Outrageous Service

A Rose By Any Other Name

February 12, 2021


“A person’s name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” ~ Dale Carnegie

Names Are Important for Positively Outrageous Service®

William Shakespeare, around here we call him “Bill,” wrote, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” In customer-speak, we guess Bill Shakespeare was making the point that it doesn’t matter so much what you call your customers; it’s how you treat them that counts. But as they say in the infomercials, “But wait! There’s more.” A lot more.

How sweet are your customers? What name do you even call your customers?

Everything you do and say sends a message. Let’s face it, there is a hierarchy of names that we could call our customers, and each one implies something different. Some are more outrageous than others. There are members, guests, clients, customers, tenants, passengers, and patients. Each category implies something different.

At the very top is a member; membership has its privileges. When you have guests, that implies hospitality – it suggests that you’re uniquely serving them. Clients denote that there’s a relationship – lawyers and accountants have a relationship with their clients. Customers are the generic name but tend to be slightly more transactional, especially in the retail environment. At the bottom, we have passengers that no longer have stewards and stewardesses but flight attendants – it sounds like they are focused more on the flight versus the passengers. And last of all, we have tenants and patients.

The Words We Use Set Expectations in Positively Outrageous Service

There’s a hospital that decided not to call their patients, patients! The connotation of a patient is they wait, not being served. They decided to call their hospital patients guests. That one shift significantly changed the attitude of their staff. They started serving and attending to their guests in guest rooms, not hospital beds. They went from patient care to really caring for the patient.

The words we use to describe our customers and our employees set expectations for how we want customers to be treated and how we expect our employees to behave. Employees of Wal-Mart are described as “Associates.” At Sam’s Club, they are “Partners,” and at Ritz Carlton, the staff and the folks they serve who might otherwise be known as guests are referred to as “ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen.” That’s Positively Outrageous!

And then there is Dick’s Last Resort, where customers can expect to be verbally abused, and for some odd reason, they seem to look forward to the hazing.

And finally, the best name to use that is Positively Outrageous and so sweet to their experience of you is their actual name. Ameen, Andrew, Angel, Christof, Christy, Jennifer, Michael, Michele, Nicole, Rob, Wendy. The sweetest and most important sound.


Using a person’s name repeatedly in a conversation draws them in and creates engagement. Engaged conversations tend to be more interactive with more positive responses and feedback.

We think the point has been made.

Calling customers by name is the best approach. And that’s final!

The value of in doing so, you are subtlety signaling that there is “something different” about your approach to service. And different is good. Just be careful.

If you are going to raise expectations to deliver Positively Outrageous Service, be sure you can keep the promise.

And we look forward to you Positively Outrageously Serving customers by name!

You want to raise your expectations to a Positively Outrageous Service standard contact us at 972.740.2037!

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