“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 firstname.lastname@example.org<mailto:email@example.com> Phone: 410-940-7118
Websites: www.ronberk.com<http://www.ronberk.com/> www.pptdoctor.net<http://www.pptdoctor.net/>
In my humor programs, people have asked me, “What if I work with a boss who has no sense of humor, who
expect me to understand technology, and to do things perfectly?”
I’ve come to the conclusion that when we’re not living our purpose, we’re going to feel out of
Only you know how badly you need that job.
Only you know whether or not it’s your true calling.
Only you know how much you can take, and/or how far you can take any of my humor strategies there in your workplace.
Your boss isn’t here at my programs, but you are. And the strategies I’m giving you are so that you can protect yourself. But if your situation is so far gone that even humor won’t work—even you lightening
up and getting rid of your own stress–that’s the turning point.
That is when you have to realize, “Hey maybe this isn’t ‘living my purpose.’” That’s where humor and laughter enter the picture. They are the keys to getting ‘on purpose’ and living within and maybe even surpassing your potential. The keys to finding out and doing what it is that you are meant to do in this lifetime. Because if you’re that stifled by a boss, if you’re that unfulfilled by a job task, if you’re that unfulfilled in your work, you are not giving the world your best.
The remedy starts with telling yourself the TRUTH.
And that truth is the hallmark of humor & laughter.
What are YOU working toward? How funny is THAT?
When I heard that the Obama administration was planning on forgiving student loans, I was mad. Mad for all the students who DID have to repay their loans through sacrifice and discipline. Mad for the people who have car loans and are feeling lucky at this news. Mad at a culture that is not more mad over this issue.
Humor is all about
* accepting who and where and what we are–even and sometimes especially the not-so-pleasant
* becoming open to possibility and ideas
* discovering who we are, and what we’re on earth to accomplish
* having fun as we enjoy the entire journey
This process can’t happen if the component of “self” is taken from the equation of self-responsibility.
This process can’t happen if we shield people from the negative and encourage them to only see the positive and shiny/bright/sweet-smelling.
The news of the loan forgiveness struck me, because it highlighted our increasingly-normal response to change. That is, we don’t, won’t and can’t ADAPT. That’s because we are looking at “college” in outdated terms. Just like the Hausfrau image has hampered interpersonal relations by giving (usually) the woman what sociologist Arlie Hochschild names a Second Shift.
The problem is that we have kept our image—our “perfect” image–of what college should be, despite radically changed circumstances that make this image not only obsolete, but dangerous to apply in today’s world.
That “perfect” image had us needing to travel far, far away from home to a college. Going to a branch campus or community college was unacceptable. Commuting while living at home? Nonsense! College meant finding a profession, and preferably a husband. ”College life” meant partying and wasting time. Being free. Not worrying about who would be responsible. Ok, maybe that was just me. But that DID work way back in my undergraduate days.
Unfortunately for today’s students, the world has raced quickly out of that image, and we haven’t created another “perfect” college image to replace it. But maybe that’s the problem: We’re focusing too much on a comforting goal: perfection. And even though we know it’s unattainable, we tenaciously grasp onto it, a security blanket in a world that’s increasingly unknown and therefore, unsafe.
What do we do when we face the unknown? We run, hide, ignore, and/or cling to what we’ve known to work in the past. Our first choice isn’t usually to see how that past choice and today’s reality gel or don’t.
The worst part of the loan forgiveness isn’t that it will happen. Isn’t that it’s a dangerous precedent to set in the attitude and mindset of the next generations.
The worst thing about it all is that it reminds me that we DON”T have a healthy or useful strategy for dealing with change. It tells me that we don’t naturally or typically want to make adjustments. It shows me that our open-mindedness that we claim to have isn’t so wide-open after all.
The natural progression of graduation in your area of concentration leading to a job in that profession today is laughable. That fossilized mindset is what stops students in their tracks, hardens their mind like cement around only looking for work in that area of expertise. Smashes the entrepreneurial spirit in its wake.
This loan forgiveness issue should inspire us. No, not to sign up for college. To examine what OTHER areas our thinking have become fossilized. Which other models we’re basing our current actions on, even though they may be ineffective. What attitudes we’re clutching to, that don’t serve us in (the) reality of our situation.
How much do YOU owe in student loans? How funny is THAT?
While I was watching PS3 Call of Duty Black Ops I marveled. Now only at the skill of the 8 year old who was navigating the game, but at the intense detail of the scenes. Even the elevator had elevator music!
The game was almost like a movie, but not quite. At first, I’d thouight the game was too empty, too cartoon-like.
But as I continued watching the film-game, it gradually DID seem like I was watching a movie in a theater. Then I figured it out: It was the undertones.
Even if it was a single note playing continuously, the “music” playing in the background reminded me of the thrill-inducing music played underneath scary movies.
Humor can be the undertone of YOUR life—if you make it so. And it can operate just like the music functions in a PS3 game:
1. connects the entire scene
2. flows the action into a streaming line
3. makes the entire episode seem much more interesting
4. completes the story line into a whole piece of comprehensible magic
What’s the music running underneath YOUR life? How funny is that?
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!
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?
« Previous entries