by Michele McGovern
Good business doesn’t have to be all business all the time. In fact, the customer experience can benefit from some funny business as well. More than half of customers say humour resonates with them when they do business with a company, a Nielsen poll found. Most customers want to interact with you and have fun doing it.
But as you may have guessed, not every situation is suitable for fun. Still, aside from situations that are upsetting, frustrating, complex or confusing — a little fun can help improve the customer relationship.
Here are six ways to fit some fun into the customer experience:
1. Make the Basic Funny
Many transactions are perfunctory. Customers log on, give and request information and make transactions with every company — so why should yours be any different from the basic approach? Because fun is memorable. For instance, at Woofuu — they don’t just ask for an email address and tell you how they use it, they remind customers, “Don’t worry. This info is sacred to us. We won’t ever sell or abuse it.” And they remind you that your password is “Like a secret agent.”
2. Make the Customer King
Use some humour to tell customers you think the world of them. Photojojo sends customers a message after they sign up for the company newsletter that tells them exactly how happy they are to have a new follower. “Dude, You rule!”
3. Own Your Mistakes
Mistakes happen. The little, innocuous kind — like linking to pages on your site that don’t exist — can be fun too. At Kayak, when customers end up on a page that no longer exists or is just acting up, they aren’t given an Error 404. Instead, Kayak makes a little fun of itself: “Sorry, we could not find the page. One of our genius “programmers” must’ve made a boo-boo.” It’s followed by a frown emoticon.
4. Add a Kick to Your Blog
Many companies have blogs these days to educate, share successes and give customers a platform to become engaged with each other. You can use it to add a fun element to the relationship as well. Wistia posts a year-end “rap up” for customers that includes a recap of product developments, office changes, employee trips, dance lessons and company progress.
5. Have a Contest Like No Other
People love a little competition. Even a crazy one can get them engaged — maybe even more so than one that awards T-shirts or extra loyalty rewards. Case in point: Dwolla, a digital payment system startup, hosted a contest for customers with a cow being the grand prize. Whether customers wanted a cow (pig or rooster — also prizes) didn’t matter as much as the smiles it put on customers’ faces.
6. Let Personalities Shine
Most customer service reps have outgoing personalities and professional attitudes. That’s a good combination for knowing when to use proper humour that makes a lasting impression. For example, here’s an exchange shared by Glenn Ross, an expert at allBusiness, from a conversation he had with a service pro at Skil:
Ross: I’ve lost my battery charger to a 12-volt cordless drill, style #2466. Can you tell me what a replacement would cost me?
CSR: Yes sir, it would cost a bazillion dollars.
Ross: Well, I hope not. Can you give me a discount?
CSR: Let me see what I can do. (Several seconds pass as she scrolled through screens.) Good news! I think I can get you a sizeable discount. How does $17 sound, including tax and shipping?
Ross: Well that sounds better than a bazillion dollars. I’ll take it.
CSR: How would you like to pay for that? We take Visa, MasterCard, and Discover.
Ross: (Determined to even things) What, you won’t take my Starbucks gift card?
CSR: (She laughs.) I’m sorry sir.
For information on how a mystery shopping program can help increase your business, visit Mystery Shopping Providers.
“You are serving a customer, not a life sentence. Learn how to enjoy your work.”
~ Laurie McIntosh
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