From customer service to hospitality services, are name tags a necessity?
There are two arguments, and they are simple: yes and no. When it comes right down to the nitty-gritty, most businesses use name tags. And, primarily customer service oriented ones, will tell you that they feel it is necessary to wear identification. Whether that’s an embroidered logo on a shirt or an actual name tag, branding is somehow incorporated onto their employees.
Now, the question needs to be asked about those employees. Who, and be honest here, really likes to wear a name tag? Not everyone enjoys having that immediate first name status with everyone they meet. So, the underlying question remains: should you use name tags for the best customer service possible?
An Expert’s Answer: It Depends
While there are many reasons to wear name tags (see below*), there are also many that would fight against the “need.” Some of the finest in the hospitality business suggest that by using name tags, you are alienating your employees. They argue that name tags separate the employee from the consumer and presents a barrier between the two.
Tim Miller, a hotelier who was intimately involved in the creation of the new Marriott—Ian Schrager Edition brand, echoes this sentiment.
“[Edition employees] don’t wear name tags because we want it to be similar to when you’re at home and a friend stops by and stays with you for a couple of nights. We want to provide service in a less artificial way than would be implied by the dividing line of name badged employees and civilian-dressed guests.”
And there’s no question that an environment adorned with name badge employees looks more stilted, artificial, less genuine than without it. Hotelier Tim Miller again: “We didn’t want the stilted awkwardness of ‘look, I work here, I’m taking care of you because that’s what it says on my badge I do.’”
By removing name tags from uniforms, some companies feel as though they are providing a more peer-to-peer relationship to form. That name tag, and the removal of, provides a barrier that is not a necessity for all businesses.
Consider This: Name Badges Improve Customer Service
Mark Harmon, CEO of Auberge Resorts and truly a “hotelier’s hotelier” told me, “We want to develop a relationship between our staff and guests. It’s awkward for the guest to have to ask for your name or the staff member to introduce himself. I find that guests love it when they can easily remember the name of our people.”
*This is where it gets good!
For the majority of businesses, name badges are a must. Especially those whose focus is the customer service and face-to-face time with their consumers. And the reasons are pretty obvious.
Starting conversations is much easier when two people (or more) feel at ease in the communication. And, this can all start with a simple introduction. By wearing a name tag, your employee automatically starts this conversation without even knowing it!
This brings us to our next point: balancing your employees and customers needs. With technology as it is, you can know your customers before they need to initiate any conversation. Do this by using loyalty or membership cards, credit cards and even event passes. So, level your playing field with name tags so that your customer knows your employee just as the employee knows them.
And don’t forget about security and accountability. Name tags help your employees stay on task by providing them with a sense of responsibility and accountability. Those respectful actions are then reflected on their treatment of your customers and provides a positive environment for everyone. From making sure everyone is where they belong for security reasons to providing the best customer experience possible, name tags are here to stay!
So, give credit where it is due and don your name tag in support of knowing your customers!