“Hi Trina, I hope you are enjoying your week! My name is Steve and I will be happy to review the charges on your bill with you….
“Trina, it was a pleasure sharing this information with you today. We appreciate you as our customer and look forward to resolving all of your concerns in the future. I hope you enjoy the rest of your week!”
I got this email today from my contact Q about an international text and the charges for it. I was expecting a long-delayed response. An auto-generated response saying something like, “Why didn’t you review our FAQ’s first?”
After all, that’s the usual way customer service situations are solved today–in the technological age. In the efficient, quick, and automated age.
But notice I didn’t say, “effective.”
The pared-down, ripped, washboard-abs business model we are encouraged to create actually isn’t very inviting. It becomes so perfect that it’s impersonal. Then when we need to make that rare personal contact with a company….
We brace ourselves for the worst.
Just think how much more progress you’d make if your response is one of levity. Immediately you burst the bracing. You allow both parties to breathe. To resolve the issue and get on with their day.
No drama, no gnashing of teeth.
Humor’s strength is its switch in perspective. They expect the worst—give them the best. They are prepared for a sermon—give them a joke.
Want to know if you’re from Mars or Snickers? Check out today’s guest Ron Berk, Ph.D., and all his humor resources. Add humor, laughter, and fun to break down the fear barriers in education, testing, and even learning statistics! To listen to today’s interview, go here: http://www.talkshoe.com/tc/73081
Ronald A Berk, PhD
Professor Emeritus, Biostatistics & Measurement,
Former Assistant Dean for Teaching,
The Johns Hopkins University
Email: NEW email@example.com<mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org> Phone: 410-940-7118
Websites: www.ronberk.com<http://www.ronberk.com/> www.pptdoctor.net<http://www.pptdoctor.net/>
I’m reading the book, “The Yoga of Time Travel: How the mind can defeat time,” by Fred Alan Wolf, PhD. In it, the author talks about our memory. The only reason we remember something is because it made some impression on us. Usually an emotional impression. But we had to have been paying ATTENTION to that thing in order to later remember it.
Yet another plug for humor. Because of it’s surprising, iconoclastic, irreverant, and/or entertaining quality, humor makes us pay attention. It knocks us out of our stupor and makes us really see what’s happening around us.
This sears the message into our minds. And then, we can recall it—usually associated with a positive emotion.
What better way to make your mark, state your brand, or send your message?
Are you on LinkedIn but don’t know what to do? Here’s a great new webinar from my friend, Beth Caldwell, networking guru.
“If you have created a profile on Linked In, but don’t know what to do with it, or how to maximize your connections, you will want to attend this practical and informative webinar on Tuesday, June 29th from 11am to 12:30pm on your own computer. This webinar will be recorded, so you can watch it over and over again! All registrants will receive a link to download the Webinar, so register, even if you are not able to attend live.
Learn the following:
• How to complete your profile to 100%
• How to use Linked In to get higher Google Rankings
• How to setup your own Linked In Group
• How to Ask/Answer Questions that will bring you business
• How and Why to setup polls
• How to use Linked In to attract visitors to your website
Learn at your desk!
Presenter: Beth Caldwell, author and publicity expert
Cost to attend: Pittsburgh Professional Women Members $25 Non Members $35
Contact Beth Caldwell for more information 412.202.6983
Register for all events online:
Want to know how to rev-up your social media campaign? My friend Al Borowski of Proposal Writing Success http://www.proposalwritingsuccess.com and Connect All The Dots
http://www.connectallthedots.com interviewed social media expert Dave Nelsen. Dave also appears in a video clip on my Facebook Fan Page.
In Al’s interview, Dave discusses:
1. His three Rules for using Social Media Correctly
2. How to use Twitter for local business
3. Who should and should not use Twitter or Facebook
4. Comparisons of programs to shorten URLs
5. His interpretation of RSS
7. WordPress vs. websites
8. Dave’s PIE chart - his required qualities of social media messages
9. How to use Linked-In correctly
You can listen to this 45 minute session at
Sex sells, but honesty brings repeat customers. I thought about one of these blog posts that goes directly to my Facebook wall. I’ve written lots of stuff about humor research. Things like how the brain calms when we are laughing and appreciating humor. How our mental, physical and emotional health improve when we use our sense of humor. I’ve shared special events that my friends and colleagues are offering. Brilliant things! Outstanding research!
Until I started talking about my day. And my impressions about events in my day.
It wasn’t pretty. They weren’t pleasant feelings I was sharing. In one blog post, I wrote about getting stitches taken out of my hand. Painful. Brutal.
But people related. Because I told the whole truth–even the bad-hair parts. People reacted because they, too, had experienced similar unpleasantries.
But usually no one transparences themselves to the point of publicly writing it down.
And so everyone suffers in silence. Needlessly. When there are many people who think, feel, react, the same way.
“Humor increases killer T-cells in the body,” gets no comments. While “I ran out of tea,” leads to a geyser of comments trickling down the wall of my Facebook page. Why? No one knows what killer T-cells are, and no one can see them.
Everybody has tea bags. They drink tea regularly. They have strong opinions about tea. Tea is real to them. Even if it’s bad news about (my) tea, people will jump in and commisserate with you!
It’s astounding to watch the honesty of humor at work.
What will you share today that’s honest? Join us on Facebook so everyone can comment on it!
I’ll be the first!
“Lighten Up.” That was one of Mashable’s 4 Tips for B2B Marketing on Facebook
When you inject some humor and levity into your social media,
—you give a face and personality to your company.
—you create a fun community.
—you create an inviting atmosphere.
What’s YOUR Facebook fan, like, or regular page? Message me and I’ll join YOU!
Just read a post in Mashable’s newsletter
about how social media is influencing how other countries’ peoples view the United States.
Bridging “the last three feet” is what Edward R. Murrow strategized. He said that international exchange depends on personal contact, “one person talking to another.” The U.S. government has taken hold of this “Three Feet” strategy and used it to its advantage.
Whether you agree with the government’s viewpoint or not, you can’t escape the fact that their social media strategy works.
“The U.S. seems much friendlier than I thought and more accessible,” someone tweeted in response to a post by Elizabeth Tradeau of the U.S. Embassy in Pretoria South Africa. Not only that, but the America is fun now. We’re known for offering education and resources, being free with our information and even asking other’s opinions.
If the United States government—the biggest most unwieldy elephant wrapped in red tape that we can find in our country—can turn all agile and hip: then why can’t every business in the U.S. adopt this strategy??
What would embracing social media do for your company?
It would lead you into the paths of HUMOR.
1. Openness. Your people, your customers, and the general public can approach you without fear. Sure, they’ll give you their 2 cents. But they will also give you vital and valuable information that YOU can use to improve your business.
2. Productivity. All the information, opinions and comments that your openness attracts—you can use it to drive your business into the next competitive stage.
3. Fun. People will see your business as a pleasant, joyful place to work. And to do business with. When you get people excited about you, you gain free sales teams.
Ever wonder why this blog is so boring?
Well, I figured it out. It’s because there’s no interaction. There’s no conversation like there is in a comedy show.
If you saw me performing live comedy, you would wonder who it is writing this boring blog. But if you think this is boring, you should read my dissertation. Even my advisor didn’t laugh.
My problem is, when I see a keyboard, I turn into Professor Wordsmart. Technical. Scientific. Precise. I know a lot of things. Things that no one wants to read because they are so bored to death by the very (clever) words I am giving them.
I lose what humor is supposed to bring out in me. AWARENESS. Of the environment I’m in. Awareness of my audience I’m writing this stuff for. But I can’t help it; I just get into the zone and can’t get back out.
This is the danger zone, because it quickly and quietly leads us into the stress zone. For me, it’s writing. That’s what gets me focused, zoned-out, and self-absorbed. Maybe for you it’s your job. The demands of your after-work schedule. Cooking.
Yours could even be a great and fun and rewarding activity. It could be something like painting or drawing or sports–something that puts you into what Mihály Csíkszentmihályi terms the flow state.
(There I go again).
The best comedy puts me and (I’m always hoping) the audience in this same state. But when it’s an activity like my writing at the keyboard, or your poring over financial documents or measuring a blueprint, it’s personal. Too personal.
We lose something else that humor is known for. CONNECTION. We disconnect from interpersonal interaction, and we are less funny.
How can we remedy this serious situation? For me, I go to Facebook. There, it’s a lot easier to be funny because the forum is set up for conversation. All social media is a virtual stage, with some people smiling quietly, others yelling (typing) their comments, and others adding their own stories and humor.
Maybe you could look for ways to include others to make a conversation where there was none before. Humor needs you +. Sure you can make yourself laugh, but when one other person confirms it, then you are officially funny.
Join me in the conversation on Facebook to help me be funnier, and to get YOU out of YOUR zone!
I was going to write about how HUMOR helps us in customer service situations. But then I realized–it’s not important whether you have a sense of HUMOR. What does matter is that you have a sense of HUMAN. That’s why I started the list off with the major misconception:
1. You are not dealing with humans. We tend to forget that the customer is still human. Whether they display any evidence of this to you or not, the fact remains. They have un-paid bills, their roots need done, their laundry is dirty and the cat litter needs changed. They will take all of this out on you. Get over it.
2. You will always know how to react to each customer. This may be where humor comes in handy. But first, you must have cleared out all your own mental baggage. That way when their arrows fly, you don’t have to catch them with your chest or your emotions.
3. Using humor is the key. It may be one of the keys. But only IF it’s used correctly. The problem is that humor makes us too comfortable with people. We don’t know when or how to stop ourselves. It’s too easy for our fun playful jesting to turn into biting sarcasm.
4. You have to be an expert. No, you have only to be a servant. If you don’t know the answer, you can show them someone who does know.
5. Your customers don’t know as much as you do. First, see #4. Then, realize that most people have seen it all. They have the internet, they know everything. There is no concievable way to know how to deal with each individual customer, individually. Just be yourself. They will catch on.
6. Customer service only means face-to-face interaction. Yes it does, AND it means any time a customer interacts with your product or business. And there are many ways they can do that: word of mouth, they can tweet it, they can text about you, they can post on Facebook, and other sites yet to be invented.
7. It won’t matter if you’re having a bad day. Go ahead and snap at the customer. After all, they are completely annoying you. Big deal–it’s only one person, they didn’t buy much anyway. One person who will tell absolutely anyone who will listen, about how mean you were. ‘Nuff said.
8. If you have a skin-tight policy you are covered. No–if you have employees who are flexible enough to work around your policy, then you are covered.
9. It’s just a matter of being friendly. This is where many people leap blindly into the trusting darkness. People are savvy. They have the internet. They know when you are faking happiness. Better to actually be happy and sincere or find another line of work.
10. The business world is separate from the “real” world. Your company is not a microcosm that the customer steps into and back out of. They have layers and levels of experiences. Your job is figuring out how to tap into their world(s) and seeing where your product fits.
Humor can absolutely benefit customer service management. But how you use that humor and where, and with whom, and how much, and how often, and when and in which situations–that is the question.
What are your solutions?
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