A few weeks ago one of my dogs, an Airedale Terrier named “Chalet” had a bad abscess on her bottom, right near the tail. It was swollen, oozing and causing her a great deal of pain. I will spare you all the gross details, but your mind can imagine the issues with this condition.
I took her to our vet, a very capable and caring professional. I learned that my dog had an “anal gland abscess” and needed minor surgery to have it drained and cleaned. Fortunately it would only take a few hours. So I ran some errands while Chalet had this procedure done to alleviate her pain. I was walking the aisles of Home Depot when I got the call that my dog was out of surgery and all went well and that I could come pick her up.
When I came to pick up Chalet, I overheard the nurse tell the person in the back that the “anal gland guy is here to get his dog.” Now the lesson here is NOT that I was called the “anal gland guy” (but I can see how some might not like that), but rather why couldn’t they refer to my dog by her name, Chalet? Now I know the nurse cares for my dog, but imagine how much better it would have been for them to refer to my dog by name. THE most important word to your client is their name.
A week later, I took my two other dogs, miniature Schnauzers, Thumper and Maya, to a doggy daycare while we were traveling in southern Utah (Chalet was still at home with our friends). When we arrived at the Red Rock Pet Center, they took pictures of my dogs, gave them bright orange collars with their names on it and carefully took them to the play area. When I picked them up this morning Thumper and Maya were in great spirits. I picked up their old collars from a cubby with their names on it; also in the box was a stuffed toy with their names on it and report cards for each dog. I will go back there again!
Now contrast that to the “anal gland guy.” So next time you refer to your client, double-check that you use their name, rather than the problem they are having. Is it the “missed the quota guy” or is it “Tom, who wants to blow out his quota this year?” It’s more comfortable for your client and easier for them to use your services to work past their problem. I am not the “anal gland guy,” but rather I’m “Chalet’s owner”… or truth be told, I’m “Chalet’s servant” and she is the owner.