Respect unusual and international customer names

(Russ Anderson) #1

My full name is John William Russell Anderson, but I only ever go by the name Russ. I simply do not respond to the name John, as I’ve never used it in my life. I realise that in order to verify my account I needed to show my passport (which has my full name on it) but that is in no way how I would ever want to be referred to by customer services. In the in-app chat I get called “John” and I hate it.

To illustrate further, an international example might be the Chinese name order system - for example ex-PM of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew. His birth name was “Harry Lee Kuan Yew” but if your customer support people had ever called him “Harry” he would’ve been furious (and also his family name is Lee, not Yew)

There’s an excellent document from the W3C on this problem

They do say it’s a hard problem to get right, but PLEASE implement the “What should we call you” field suggestion in that document. This would not only get around my personal issue with being called the wrong name (which is a huge #fail for a company that wants friendlier dialogue with customers) but would also suit anyone in the world who doesn’t go by the “Joe Q. Bloggs” firstname-secondname-surname system that is popular but by no means universal in the UK.

(Alex Sherwood) #2

The customer support team will make a note of your preferred name (& usually remember to use it, although the UI of their tool needs to be improved so that they always see it), if you ask them. I had to ask them to use my preferred name too.

As you say, it would be good to add a place for a user to submit this name when they’re completing their application too though!

(Simon B) #3

We’re definitely working on this! :grinning:

(Bob) #4

…or when you sign up to Monzo as Bob but your passport says Robert. There must be many similar examples.


We had this issue in an insurance database I was working on and had to take into account dual surnames as in Spanish culture, Patrynomics as in Russian culture, family place of origin as in Swiss family names, length of some surnames including some Sri Lankan names, triple barreled names with double hypenation, suffixes such as Jr or Sr, etc. The overriding learning point is that a ‘to be known as’ field is more and more important particularly with customers originating from a growing number of countries

(Andy Little) #6

I agree with the original post. Could I also suggest, in addition to preferred name people also be asked about preferred pronouns / gender identity? I know a few people for whom it differs from that on their passport / driving licence.

(Alex Sherwood) #7

Monzo’s definitely on board with that idea :+1:


Avoiding use of pronouns is easier than having an ever growing list of them, and just call people by or mail to their prefered name

(Andy Little) #9

To be honest pronouns can be avoided most of the time if names are used instead. When referring to third persons I find that singular “they” is usually a fairly safe bet.


That just jars with me as it is a plural for a group of people.

(Andy Little) #11

A lot of people say that, but actually it gets used in the singular all the time. For example “could they not have sent that document before we issued the code!” Is something I often hear in relation to an individual at another company, usually an individual you don’t yet know the name or gender of.

(Rika Raybould) #12

They, they’re and their are pretty good to use. I use them in application strings, on the internet, in voice communications and general life all the time where a person hasn’t established a pronoun preference. Nobody ever notices or cares. It’s almost perfect.