You know how sometimes you call for customer assistance and the person on the other end says, “Hello, my name is Susan, how can I help you today?”  Yet, because of a certain accent, you could swear the person you’re talking to has never even met anyone named Susan, let alone bear that name herself?

I might be responsible for that…

Last week I had the unusual privilege of bestowing on a group of office workers their “customer familiar” names. For the customer’s ease, call centers and IT companies apparently sometimes give their employees a name that will be more comfortable for customers to use.

Being from the USA and thus an expert on American names (ahem) – I was called in to help brainstorm the transformation of names. Seema became Susan. Vikash became Victor. Umesh became Matthew.

There were certain guidelines. The name had to be pronounceable and easily spell-able by the person who would henceforth use it. The name had to have good connotations in the US and not be a “nickname” (Kevin, in – Bert, out). The name also had to have good connotations for the rest of the office staff so that the bearer wouldn’t feel shy because his office-mates teased him/her about it. Therefore, Brittney and Michael were both out since people here instinctively know them to belong to two pop stars. Apparently, the teasing would’ve been unbearable!