You don’t know how to spell their name.


Pieter. Jenifer. Cindee. Lisa. Leesa. Lissa.


Spelling is personal. And nothing says “I don’t really care enough about you as my customer” than a simple spelling mistake. (By the way, my name isn’t Howard. I get called Howard all the time.)


If you’re on the phone with a customer, don’t guess the spelling of their name. Ask. A former manager of mine used to keep a section of his cubicle devoted to all the misspelled address labels from various magazines and other vendors.


A favorite quote of mine is from business guru Tom Peters: “HOW CAN YOU TRUST THE AIRPLANE MAINTENANCE WHEN THEY CANT WIPE THE COFFEE STAINS OFF THE FLIP TRAYS” 


I’ve literally been thanked by prospective customers just for having taken the time to ask them how they spell their name. And that goes beyond just spelling. If they say S on the phone, you need to make sure it’s not an F. It’s extra work. It’s extra time. And it’s the little difference that might be what keeps you ahead of the competition.

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