Every couple of years, usually in October, I share this…
“What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity.
These are but trifles, to be sure, but scattered along life’s pathway,
the good they do is inconceivable.” Joseph Addison
A few years back I was in NYC and while standing and waiting for my security clearance for a meeting it seemed to take forever. I was getting pretty irritated and impatient to get going. The security guard looked at me and said, “You know it takes twice the muscles to frown than it does to smile!”
Okay, so I didn’t believe him and hit Google. The actual count, according to Snopes is 37 to frown and 22 to smile! So at least we can all be accurate when we use the expression it takes more work to frown than to smile.
At the risk of sounding like I’m trying to do a spin-off of the old SNL Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy…think about the response, you get with a smile and a little laughter. It’s the number one biggest secret in great customer service – just being able to empathize with your customer. The angriest of customers can often be neutralized with just a smile and a little kindness.
You can tell when somebody is smiling, even over the phone. You can hear the difference in the tone of their voice. I’m not talking about a big toothy Alfred E. Neuman grin when a client is screaming at you, just a kindness smile that says you’re listening and you care.
We all know the customer isn’t always right and your customers know that as well, but so often they’re only looking for somebody to listen to their concerns. One angry customer today has the power to influence thousands of other people in social media. You don’t have to give in all the time, but you do have to listen.
Think about recent challenges you may have had with a client and then do an inventory of your customer service skill set. Were you listening more than talking? Were you smiling and projecting empathy?
“With businesses, you go to the same places because you like the service, you like the people and they take care of you. They greet you with a smile. That’s how people want to be treated, with respect. That’s what I tell my employees. Customer service is very important.” Magic Johnson
“A customer is the most important visitor on our premises, he is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so.” Mahatma Gandhi