Shep Hyken's Customer Service Blog

Four Reasons Why Remembering Your Customers Is Important

A few weeks ago I had breakfast at one of my favorite places, First Watch. On that particular day I wasn’t that hungry so I ordered just one pancake. Typically, when I add a pancake they charge a dollar. When the server left the check on the table I noticed they charged me five dollars for the pancake. I asked about the high-priced pancake and learned there was as difference between adding a pancake and ordering just one for breakfast. He was very nice about it, and I was happy to accept the reason. He then jokingly told me the next time I came in he was going to give me a pancake for a dollar. I thanked him and left him a nice tip for his great service and his outstanding attitude.

Two weeks later we went back to First Watch for breakfast. That day we had a different server. I ordered my usual big breakfast. A few minutes later the server came back with a pancake. She said that it was compliments of Tomas, the gentleman who took care of us the last time we were in for breakfast. I looked over and he gave me a wave and a smile.

I was impressed. First, you should know why I like First Watch. They consistently have great food and great service. Nobody is perfect, but they have their system down and they seldom miss. The servers are always friendly. That’s why I’ve been a customer of theirs since they opened their stores in St. Louis more than a dozen years ago. I always know what I’m going to get.

But, now I have another reason. They remember me. Actually, they didn’t remember. Tomas remembered me. But, for me Tomas, represents the restaurant and all of the other employees. Remembering your customers is huge. Why? Here are four good reasons.

  1. It makes your customers feel special. Who doesn’t like to be remembered and appreciated?
  2. It makes the experience personal. I was remembered, but more important, I was given a special experience based on Tomas remembering the pancake.
  3. It creates a connection with your customers. People like being around people they feel they know. Recognizing and remembering someone is the first step toward that.
  4. It increases the likelihood of a return visit. Remember the show Cheers? It was a popular sitcom that first ran in 1982 and was popular for over ten years. The theme song, “Where Everybody Knows Your Name,” was also the theme of the entire show. People like going to – and like going back to – places where they are remembered. It’s simply part of good customer service.

Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, keynote speaker and New York Times bestselling business author. For information contact or www.hyken.com. For information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs go to www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken

(Copyright © MMXVII, Shep Hyken)

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  1. Amen to those four reasons, Shep! For one thing, having someone remember your name- or just their face- and acknowledging them, can make them feel relaxed – as if they were coming home. Exceptional experiences lead to great business relations – and recognition ranks right up there!

  2. We love First Watch. We had reason to be in St Louis for a prolonged period of time and we went back there every day for all the reasons you mentioned. In fact, we were hosting a number of people and kept recommending them to others. It was a great experience then and sounds like it still is!!

    • Hi Joe – Glad you enjoyed First Watch. I will be sure to pass on this comment to them the next time I’m there – which will probably this coming weekend. Thanks for taking the time to comment!

  3. One thing I appreciate about you Shep is you tell stories about being a good customer.

    Many other so-called experts would post a different version of the story on their blog, ranting about how the restaurant shouldn’t charge five dollars for a single pancake, the customer is always right, etc. They’d completely miss that fact that great service often requires a great customer, too.

    Nobody likes to serve those customers who are unreasonable and don’t respect the need of the business to make a profit while delivering exceptional service. Yet it amazes me that some well-known authors and speakers come off as miserable.

    I bet Tomas remembered you in part because you were pleasant and easy to serve. That tells me you’re the real deal. You don’t just talk about outstanding customer service, you live it!

    PS. I noticed the comment notification feature below. You ARE the real deal!

    • Hi Jeff – Thanks for the compliments! And, you are the real deal, too! (Birds of a feather flock together – at least that’s what “they” say.) And, you can thank Stephanie in our office for figuring out how to add the comment notification feature. She’s amazing! Her comment, “It was just a plug-in we had to add.” Easier for her to say! Thanks again!

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