Name pronunciation in the twilight zone

In the twilight zone, my name is pronounced Hobkrik. Or maybe it’s Hobert. Could be Hopkins. The customer service rep isn’t sure just how to say it, but it isn’t important anyway, right?

“Ok Mr. Hobards.”
“It’s Hobkirk.”
“Right, that’s what I said, Hopper.”

But pronunciation is important, if only for a second, because it’s not difficult to read a typewritten name, and making an effort at correct pronunciation says volumes about how well a person is paying attention. If I know you are paying attention, I trust you. On the other hand, if I know you are not paying attention enough to attempt a correct pronunciation of my name, I lack confidence in you.

I could call it comical, and it’s honestly funny to hear someone botch the pronunciation five times (differently each time) in the span of one minute. But it also undermines trust because no matter the service provided, I know the rep is not paying attention. How well can you do your job when you’re not paying attention?

In business relationships, trust is everything. And in business everything is based on relationships.

Kelly Hobkirk - teaching marketers how to harness strategy, goals, reality, and purpose to connect and do better work.


Kelly Hobkirk has been helping companies succeed in creative ways for nearly 25 years. His work has been featured in Time Magazine, and books by Rockport and Rotovision. Get exclusive articles when you sign up for his monthly newsletter.

Thank you! This is going to feel good.

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