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What's In A Name?

When you work in a call center, one of the things you have to do when you answer the phone is introduce yourself.

My first job out of college was at a call center for a financial company, and when I answered calls I would say “Hello, this is Hoon Park, and you’re on a recorded phone line” (I had to let them know I was on a recorded phone line).

In the first few months I realized everyone was butchering my name. I would get Soon or Shoon or Shawn. It really bothered me because, you know, it’s my name!

I started wondering if I need to change my name, or maybe go by a simpler name when I answer the phone, so that customers would get my name right. I thought about going by John, the most boring name I could think of, but that isn’t what I wanted to do either.

I didn’t want to go by a fake name just so people could understand me, so I tried an experiment instead.

When you take 80 to 100 phone calls per day you have an opportunity to A/B test everything. So, I tried changing my introduction and found that “This is Hoon” would blur the ‘s’ and the ‘h’ together, and that’s why people weren’t hearing the correct pronunciation of my name.

When I introduced myself by saying “You are speaking to Hoon” the hit rate of getting my name right went way up, and I was able to keep using my name.

Hoon Park

Hoon is a customer support pro at Twitter or on his website.