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Why Starbucks REALLY wants to know your name

A venti Starbucks cup with the name "Emily" written on it

You might think that name the Starbucks employee writes on your cup is so they can call out your name or avoid having someone pick up the wrong beverage from the counter.

But that’s not why they write it down. They write your name down to get to know you, to personalize the experience, to develop a relationship between you and Starbucks.

That’s not always apparent, though. The benefits are not immediate, and not “in your face” where they immediately say your name right back to you.

It might come on the next visit, or when they surprise and delight you with knowing your name when you return. Starbucks is investing in a long-term relationship with you. Are you doing the same with your customers?

Canlis, an upscale restaurant in Seattle,  doesn’t give you a ticket when they park your car. They just remember you and bring your car around when you’re done with the meal. It’s relatively simple, and it’s extraordinarily memorable. I haven’t eaten at Canlis in probably 25 years. And I still remember that.

“We appreciate your business” is easy to say. But doing things that show it are where the real value lies. And when it’s done right, people will not only be impressed, but they’ll tell others.

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