Do I Have to Give My Full Name to a Customer?

Hello, my name is
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Another great question came into our community of industry professionals, which we wanted to share with you as it provides some great insights on whether or not call and contact centre agents should give their full name when on a call to a customer.

Its a question many call centre professionals have faced with agents asking what to do when a customer asked for their last name, and wondering if a customer asks for a name do you have to give it.

So lets dive straight into it and find out if call centre agents / associates give their full name, with the question asked by Richard:

Should Agents/Associates Give Their Full Name to a Customer

This is mainly for people in the UK but I’d welcome comments from people in other countries. We’re having a drive to get the associates to provide their full names during the calls they take.

Some of them however are refusing saying there legislation that says they only have to give their first name.

As we work in a Debt Recovery situation they are concerned that people may track specific individuals down, and previously gave pseudonyms (fictitious names). My view is that we should own the issue and not be afraid to give our full names.

Is there any rules/laws in place in the UK regarding this ? What does OFTEL think ?

The Call Centre is majority inbound with a little outbound. Its more the inbound where the problem lies.

Question asked by Richard

Name Game

The only time I’ve really come across changing names is in relation to giving customers clarity. i.e. only one agent of each name. Anyone new who’s name already exists using a Pseudonym.

At the same time we only used first names that however was personal choice to make things easier to run.

I’m not sure of the legal part but I think the Customer has the right to know the FULL NAME and COMPANY that is calling. This means if you are an outsourcer you must state you are company xxxxx working on behalf of Company yyyyyyy.

IE:

“My name is Dave Appleby. I work for XXX Call Centre. We work on behalf of XXX Company who’ve contracted us to demand the 37 1/2 pence you still owe XXX Company. “

It Should Be the Same for Both Inbound and Outbound

The script I gave below still has to be followed even if it is inbound, however they don’t HAVE to do it unless asked. At that point they have a legal obligation for full disclosure.

Outbound Introductions

The normal outbound script would be. Using the names above

“Good (M/A/E Delete as appropriate) My name is Dave and I’m calling on behalf of XXX Company.”

I personally would not disclose the XXX Call Centre tie in unless asked. (it’s one question I always do ask). I normally say do you work for or on behalf of……

Inbound Introductions

Inbound I’d just say.

“Thank you for calling XXX Company My name is David how can I help.”

Or words to that effect. I wouldn’t disclose any more details unless specifically asked.

The choice to use full names or just first is yours alone however the staff need to know legally they can’t hide behind them and at the end of the day they do need to disclose if asked.

With thanks to David Appleby a regular Contributor

Legislation, Legislation, Legislation

You mention you are ‘having a drive’ to get associates to specify name but don’t specify why you are having this drive. Is there a sound business case behind this with empirical evidence to back it up or is it just a whim?

Bottom line here is not personal viewpoints but legislation, firstly consult your industry/trade association code of conduct, then you might like to try the Direct Marketing Association (unable to view their present code of conduct as its only available to members but I cant remember it specifying anything previously), the Direct Selling Association dont appear to specify it either.

The you could try Gvnt Association OFGAS and OFGEM – you mention OFTEL who regulate the telecoms market not telemarketing/direct selling – are you sure you understand our industry sufficiently?

Next there’s Europe and the European Law on Distance Selling, don’t seem to remember too much about names in that either. Lastly there’s the Data Protection Act, which covers appropriate use of data which may or may not include agents full names depending on how you take it.

Did you know colleges can no longer release absence stats of vocational students to their employers, this Act is becoming all encompassing.

Last but not least consider your staff and trade unions, I know council staff who are accosted bullied and harassed in the street (when off duty) because they’ve forgotten to take their badge off.

One of my first jobs was to work for a loan company, the debt chasing department always used unisex false names – Chris Smith, Sam Jacobs etc and it never did them any harm.

The customer does not have a ‘right’ to any employees full name or any other personal details about them and all employers have a liability for the safety of their employees.

Unless its harming sales, I’ve not seen any empirical evidence that it makes a jot of difference to customer perception although it does provide a victim for customer praise or rebuke.

With thanks to Jane

If There’s Nothing to Hide, What’s the Problem

I can’t see why people should be worried about giving their name, our ServiceDesk staff open a call with

” Good morning, ServiceDesk my name is XXX, how can I help.”

Should the customer ask for the full name they give it, however I also think that our staff are comfortable in the processes they work to and also in the knowledge that the supervisors will assist should they experience any problems.

I guess it depends on the staff, if they think they have something to hide or may get a complaint about the service they have provided they may be unwilling to provide name.

If there’s nothing to hide, what’s the problem???

With thanks to Becky a Call Centre Helper Contributor

Give the Agents a Number

When I worked for British Telecomm in sales I worked with a guy who had a foreign name. He thought that his Nationality may affect his sales so he changed his name to John Smith.

Working under OFTEL ruling at the time for BT, I am sure it would of been pulled up in no time, if the people who used to do this were not allowed.

I don’t think the agent should have to give their name if they don’t want to.  If customers feel that strongly about it give the agents a number they can give instead of their full name if a customer asks.

With thanks to Jason

Why Agents Should Not Give Their Full Name to a Customer

Looking at these responses, it seems that if a customer asks the agent should give them their name, unless they feel strongly against it.

But depending on the industry, or even the nature of the inquiry, this can cause problems, as highlighted by these comments on the cons of giving a customer your full name:

I Got Stalked By A Customer

I received a message in my linked in account from a customer at work and demanding I complete their request.

I do not know how this person found me on linked in, and how he was able to add himself as a connection.

With thanks to lenra

Customer Visited My Home

When I was on the phones in the US, I had a customer visit my apartment. I was home, on my day off, laying on the couch watching tv and there was a bang on my door.

I was expecting a package, so I answered it. The individual standing there was a customer that I had worked with on an escalation.

While we only gave out our first names, this customer slowly gathered other information about me from other agents.

He eventually got my last name, the call centre I worked at, and then hired an private investigator to find my place of residence. It was unnerving and a violation of my privacy.

Was this a rare instance, maybe not, I know 5 other agents who have had this happen to them them as well.

I say require agents to provide true first name and put policies into place that require agents to protect the names of other agents.

With thanks to Robert

I Was Threatened By A Customer

While working in a call centre for a major utility I was threatened by a customer who then traced my home address. One of my co-workers was stalked for several months. Last names should not be given.

With thanks to Anne

This article was made possible due to the great community of experts we have at Call Centre Helper, to get involved just join our LinkedIn Community and and if you aren’t already make sure you are following us on LinkedIn to see our latest content.

For more on customer service and names, read these articles next:

Author: Jonty Pearce
Reviewed by: Robyn Coppell

Published On: 12th Apr 2022 - Last modified: 24th May 2024
Read more about - Call Centre Questions, , , ,

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