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This 31 message thread spans 2 pages: 31 ( [1] 2 > >     
When a customer calls to receive a quote and you forget their name...
What do you do?
beckie

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 1495 posted 1:49 am on Aug 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

This is the 3rd time that I forgot the name of the person that called asking about my services.

A guy called this evening and introduced himself. I was thrown off because his area code was in my state and the same area code as my dads. I was expecting a call from my dad to give me an update on a family situation. I answered the phone, 'hello?', when I usually answer it professionally. The man stated who he was and I was on my way into my office to speak with him.

I did not ask him his name again, but tried to see if his email address had something with his name in it. It didn't. I looked up his domain registration information - nothing.

This sounds so trivial to ask for advice on, but I need some ideas on how to ask what their name is in a professional way. I don't want to seem like I am not listening to what they are talking about - I'm just really bad at names. (This also applies to meeting someone in person). Any ideas?

 

HughMungus

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 1495 posted 1:56 am on Aug 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

"How do you spell your name?" That way if you're supposed to know their first or last name, you can say the other one.

If it's not in person you can always do a phone number lookup.

One time at a company Christmas party I couldn't, um, remember anybody's name so instead of saying, "Hi, so and so, this is my friend [date] so and so" I said, "Hi! This is my friend so and so!" And then, of course, they'd introduce themselves and I'd know their name. :D

TheDave

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 1495 posted 2:03 am on Aug 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

"How do you spell your name?"

All well and good until their name is Bob... "umm, B-O-B... say are you qualified?"

vkaryl

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 1495 posted 2:14 am on Aug 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

I usually just say something like, "I'm sorry, I've got 3 or 4 people talking at me right now. I missed your full name, could you repeat it please?"

I also use "Let's get the nuts and bolts tightened up to start with. I know you've given me this before, but let's fill in this form from square one, okay? Your full name?" and go on to email addy, phone, etc.

Of course, I have a built-in excuse: senior AND blond.... 2 or 3 kids under 6 works well too.... (DELIVER ME....)

[Edit: in person is easier (for me anyway) - while I'm NOT a ditz normally, I can "do" ditz quite well thank you. Creative folks aren't supposed to remember names.... In person, I generally blame it on "my admin assistant", who failed to prime me fully, and therefore I'm in the market for a new one....]

beckie

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 1495 posted 1:20 pm on Aug 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

I also use "Let's get the nuts and bolts tightened up to start with. I know you've given me this before, but let's fill in this form from square one, okay? Your full name?" and go on to email addy, phone, etc.

PERFECT! This is a great idea. Thank you! :)

Leosghost



 
Msg#: 1495 posted 2:17 pm on Aug 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

When you forget someones name 3 times there are one of 3 reasons..
1.Your cigarettes are made from a "controlled substance".

2.There is a "karmic preventative" reason happening inside your head ..your sixth sense is trying to tell you that you don't need the "greif"' of knowing this particular person down the line ..

3. I forgot the third

crashomon

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 1495 posted 2:47 pm on Aug 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

Actually, I'm hard of hearing and so, I often miss people's names because my head is trying to interpret the sounds I'm hearing. (Now that I have digital hearing aids, I'm much better at capturing their names!)

But seriously, if you can't 'remember' people's names, it could be a symptom of poor hearing. Go get it checked.

But, when in a 'forgotten name' situation, I always introduce someone else as "this is my friend so and so" and then make sure my friend catches their name.
(otherwise, if no one else is around, I ask "do you have a business card?")

On the phone, I ask for a full spelling and phone number to call back at.

Hope that helps!

Patrick Elward

HughMungus

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 1495 posted 2:52 pm on Aug 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

Then you say, "I'm sorry, I meant your last name."

NatGeo

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 1495 posted 10:57 pm on Aug 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

If it is the owner who contacted me I look up the owners name in their states online business registry.

This very thing happened to me a week ago. Solved it by going online to the secretary of state online database.

:] ng

sanity

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 1495 posted 4:08 am on Aug 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

Whenever I meet anyone new I try to relate their name to someone I already know with the same name - it helps trigger my memory for some reason - except after a lot of wine. <laughs>

rdrunna

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 1495 posted 4:26 am on Aug 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

Hi Beckie:

I've done this too, but the way to go, at least for me works. I also say may I have the proper spelling of your name and mailing address, so I can keep my records accurate?

They usually do, with no change in their voice, or even realizing it.

Hope this is helpful.

percentages

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 1495 posted 7:56 am on Aug 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

> but I need some ideas on how to ask what their name is in a professional way.

"What is your name" always works for me. They will only do business with you if you have something to offer them that works!

I make hundreds of thousands of dollars for some of my clients, yet still some can't remember my name, and in fact I have a problem remembering them too.

It doesn't actually matter!

I abuse my clients, they abuse me, we have a free for all, and none of us much care while the bottom line is good for all.

beckie

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 1495 posted 12:45 pm on Aug 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

Thank you everyone for all the great advice. I have used the 'I need your information for my records' and it has worked. I remember my current clients names - that has never been the problem. It's that first 10 seconds of the phone call of someone new that gets me. Thank you again everyone! Excellent advice. :)

trillianjedi

WebmasterWorld Senior Member trillianjedi us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 1495 posted 1:05 pm on Aug 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

Um, pen and paper next to the phone maybe is a good idea?

TJ

beckie

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 1495 posted 1:28 pm on Aug 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

Wow, that's a great idea, TJ... I didn't think of that one. ;)

These situations occur when I'm doing something else, like home related. I'm not in my office until 20 seconds into the phone call because I am usually running up the stairs to get that piece of paper to write their details down. We are supposed to have a separate life other than work, right? ;)

stuntdubl

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 1495 posted 4:00 pm on Aug 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

Then you say, "I'm sorry, I meant your last name."

Jones...J-O-N-E-S, Bob ;)

trillianjedi

WebmasterWorld Senior Member trillianjedi us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 1495 posted 4:18 pm on Aug 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

We are supposed to have a separate life other than work right?

I knew I was doing something wrong...

anallawalla

WebmasterWorld Administrator anallawalla us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 1495 posted 9:35 am on Aug 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

Beckie, have you forgotten the knock on the head during Cyclone Charlie that impaired your memory? :)

amznVibe

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 1495 posted 9:38 am on Aug 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

I have done the same thing. I suspect it's all the nutrasweet in my diet sodas. ;)

beckie

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 1495 posted 11:34 am on Aug 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

anallawalla, I'm not anywhere close to Charlie or Bonnie, so that doesn't apply. ;)

rdrunna

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 1495 posted 4:53 pm on Aug 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

You could also say, I'm sorry I am not sure if I have your proper name or something like that. Like someone else said, they are just as forgetful as you... Take Ginkgo Biloba...

Most are human and just like you forget. Like right now, I can't remember exactly your name in the forum or anyone elses, but I'm sure they are not going to jump off the cliff because of it. You should just be you..... From my experience; most like "REAL". So just be "REAL". If you are else where and your phone rings, carry a mini pad in your pocket, purse, or where ever you want. You can even right it on your hand and bring a hand sanitizer when your done putting your notes in you pad. If you really want to get organized in this fashion, just have an organizer with a calender, address area and things to do, etc and write a note pad to yourself to check it every day. It does not have to be a big bulky book, just simple "Keep it simple"...

MatthewHSE

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 1495 posted 12:41 pm on Aug 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'm terrible with names and faces. I meet people around town fairly regularly who obviously know me, but I can't recall ever having met them before. We can have wonderful conversations about their family and mine, and I leave never knowing who I was talking to. I forget names in a business context, too. What I normally do is something straight-forward, like "I'm sorry, I didn't catch your name. What is it again please?"

And gradually, I'm remembering to write these things down!

bgirl

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 1495 posted 12:50 am on Aug 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

I had a similar thing happen... a new client called out of the blue, she said her name clearly, but when she said who referred her I had absolutely no idea who she was talking about. I asked her if she could repeat the name, she did, then I nearly blurted out "who the hell is that?", but stopped myself in time. She seemed to think I knew who she was talking about.

I asked my colleagues. Nada. They hadn't heard of the person who referred her either.

So I googled the new client's phone number and came up with a link on a website affiliated with a company where I was on a short list of interviewees, but didn't get the job. I guess they kept me on file...

karmov

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 1495 posted 4:11 pm on Aug 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

Boy, tis thread is the most useful thing I've read all month. It doesn't happen often to me, but it's great to see these tps and tricks to keep in my back pocket until it happens the next time (and I'm sure it will).

GaryK

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 1495 posted 4:35 pm on Aug 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

What works well for me might not work for you. I simply and politely tell the person I'm sorry I've forgotten their first name and they usually gladly offer it up again with a smile that tells me they've done the same thing before. If I need additional information out comes my Palm and if we can't beam our info to each other I use the Notepad to quickly scribble it in.

saoi_jp

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 1495 posted 8:34 am on Sep 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

The thing I cannot do is introduce a large group of people. It doesn't matter who they are. As soon as I start, I begin worrying that I will hesitate on someone.

I meet people around town fairly regularly who obviously know me, but I can't recall ever having met them before.

If you've given presentations or held any sort of leadership role (going back as long as you've lived in the town), this would not be so uncommon.

austtr

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 1495 posted 7:59 am on Sep 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

Adopt the Australian model.... call everyone "mate". You will never have to remember a name again...

How ya doin' mate? (to all incoming calls)
Good on ya mate (when praising)
ah mate, go and ... (when not praising)
I'll have a Fourex mate (when thirsty)
Well mate, I did it for the boys (obligatory response from all male sports persons)

There is a popular myth that "mateship" is a great Aussie tradition... bollocks, no-one can be bothered remembering names!

digitalv

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 1495 posted 8:05 am on Sep 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

Pretend you've got someone else on the line and "mess up" when switching. Tell your forgotten caller to hang on, wait a few seconds, and then say "John, are you still there?"

If their name happens to be John they'll say yes. If it's not, they'll think you messed up and say "Nope, this is still ...". Then write the name down so you don't forget again, stupid :)

hairycoo

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 1495 posted 9:10 pm on Oct 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

Read chapter 3 (in part 2) in Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends and Influence People". Best book I ever read for business or personal.

PatrickDeese

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 1495 posted 6:12 pm on Oct 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

If you have their email address, you could send one of those "Plaxo" thingies that asks for your name, number, and blood type.

Other than that I might have a "secretarial assistant" call and take down their full contact information, or hack together a "clients" only area with a short registration form that has them fill out their basic contact info (including their name).

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