When and Why Name Badges Suck!

badgeRecently I was in a store waiting in line to be served and I came across a staff member who was wearing a name badge similar to this one. Sam (not his real name) was proudly wearing a name badge with his name and the words “Here to help.” Well unfortunately, Sam wasn’t really there to help. I could tell by his lack of smile, avoiding eye contact at all cost and monotone greeting, that he really didn’t want to be there and was rather hoping his shift would end very soon.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I really like name badges as I think they are a great way for your customers to get to know your name and it starts to build a relationship with these customers. Once a customer uses a staff members name they can feel pretty safe in finding out that customer’s name and using it.

We all love to go into places where we are recognised and using customer’s names is so powerful in achieving this. The next challenge is of course remembering your customer’s names, perhaps we can ask them to wear a name badge!!

So my point is, if you ask your staff to wear a name badge, as you should, and it includes other words such as “I’m here to help”, please make sure they are living and breathing this. Otherwise we are sending very mixed messages to our customers. While I was waiting to be served by Sam, I could see he wasn’t that keen on being there and then seeing the words “here to help” on his name badge really did it for me.

I also see staff wearing promotional messages either on their name badge, or additional badges that say “Ask me about ….” I have yet to hear a customer actually say to a staff member “I saw the promo badge and I’d like to know more about …….” I think customers very rarely ask, so these badges are often a waste of time and I think a lot of staff presume that the customer is not interested because they don’t ask.

I do like that staff wear these, particularly when you are launching a new product or service, but please make sure they also engage the customer in a conversation about the new product or service and they don’t just hide behind the badge.

I am passionate about getting staff to inform customers of special offers, such as new products and services and having fun while they do it. Most customers struggle to read signs, so just putting a badge on someone with a few words on it “Ask me about ….” just doesn’t work.

One last beef, if your business requires staff to wear name badges, please make sure all staff are wearing them. It doesn’t look professional if some are and some aren’t. And if you are the boss you had better lead by example and wear yours too!!

Roger SimpsonRoger Simpson – CEO, The Retail Solution and Author of “The Retail Solution” With over 35 years’ industry experience, Roger Simpson is recognized as Australia’s #1 Authority on customer ROI in the retail industry and as a global expert on staff coaching, customer service and selling skills.