A post by ILS team member Eric Kidwell:

My local Chick-Fil-A has recently started asking for a name to go with your order at the drive thru. The first two times this happened, there was absolutely no mention of my name when I got my order. Though I don’t know why, having to give my name to the drive thru attendant made me uncomfortable. So, I asked, “Why did you ask for my name?” The response was, “I don’t know… they told us to ask for names.” Strange.

The next time, I was asked for my name again. This time, when I got to the window, they said, “Hello Mr. Eric!” This did not make me more comfortable. In fact, it was awkward. Nobody calls me “Mr. Eric.” I am “Eric.”  I can sometimes be “Mr. Kidwell.” I also could help feeling that this was way worse than not having my name used at all.

If they had asked my name once, then remembered me, that would have been solid gold service. But the fact that they ask me at the drive thru just so they can call me by my name at the window is forced and awful. People can smell a “customer service initiative” a mile away… even through the drive thru speaker.

By the way, when I got my order, I said, as I always do: “Thank You.” Their response was “You are welcome.” Good, right?  WRONG!  Chick Fil A has built a brand largely on the back of two simple words: “My Pleasure.” That is the way things are done at Chick Fil A. It’s simple and memorable. And apparently it is being lost or replaced by asking customers for their names.

In healthcare, we often have to ask for name and date of birth. It’s part of providing a safe experience. But don’t forget to tell THEM that. Tell them WHY you need to confirm their name and date of birth, even though you just asked them 15 minutes ago. If you don’t tell them why, you risk them feeling awkward and uniformed. Just like I felt at the drive thru when I had to give my name, just to get an expensive chicken sandwich.