The Last Name Question

11099758_522c1ccab6 A client and I recently had a discussion about whether or not to address the company should address customers by their first or last name. This is something that quite a few companies debate internally.

Personally, I suggest companies stick to first names. If your company culture and your customers are the type that should be called by their last names, this is what you have to do to make it work.

Collect information.
You have to collect information about the customer’s preferred title. Ask them if they want to be called Mr., Mrs., Ms., Dr., etc. Keep that information on file and have it displayed during all interactions.

Use that information.
You have to then use that information you collect during all interactions. Every time you address a customer, it should be on hand. If you use the wrong thing (especially after a customer has provided it), you’ll look bad.

Those reasons, among others, are why I suggest using first names. They just seem to be easier for everyone to use.

Besides not having the problem of dealing with titles and gender, you don’t have to worry about finding their last name. A lot of people will sign emails by only their first names or will have an email address like If you only use first names, you can avoid those sorts of problems.

Your greetings should be friendly and welcome the customer.

2 Responses to “The Last Name Question”

  1. Ben Hubbard said:

    Oct 09, 07 at 5:51 pm

    I agree the first name is the way to go, but with exceptions of course. The basic rule of thumb I use is the customer. If they call me Mr. Hubbard, I’ll call them Mr. or Mrs. so and so.

  2. Service Untitled said:

    Oct 09, 07 at 10:22 pm

    Ben, that is an excellent rule of thumb.