One of my favorite customer service tips came from an attendee at one of our Train-the-Trainer programs. She said, “you know it’s just about making them happier than they were 10 seconds ago!” So simple and yet so spot on. If we just focused on making the person in front of us (or on the other end of the phone line, or an email) happier than they were 10 seconds ago, we’d not only have delighted customers, but (lofty as it sounds) the world would just be a better place.
I wrote about this concept earlier after my experience with Jordan and Theresa at a Firehouse Subs location, and also shared this story in one of our “customer service tips” videos. What does it mean though? How does one make someone happier than they were 10 seconds ago?
This post explores that and I offer you 10 customer service tips for making someone happier than they were 10 seconds ago. What if you committed to trying just one of them today and let me know the result in the comments below? Do you think you made them happier? Did YOU feel happier? Try it and let me know and remember, these tips don’t only work for traditional customers but for your internal customers (co-workers, staff) as well!
In fact, feel free to share these tips with your team. Challenge them to try one of the ideas below and come back the next day and report their results.
10 Customer Service Tips for Making Someone Happier Than They Were 10 Seconds Ago
- Be positive, upbeat and friendly: If you read my Firehouse Subs story, you’ll realize that’s all that Jordan and Theresa really did. They were upbeat, friendly and present with me and, as a result, I had a little spring in my step that wasn’t there earlier.
- Give Them a Sincere Compliment: We all love to hear positive things about ourselves. Find something to compliment about the next person you see. Be sincere and strive to go beyond “I like your earrings.” Try “WOW, you look amazing today” or “Whenever I see you you’re always smiling and it just makes my day!”
- Bring a co-worker a cup of coffee: Nothing says “I was just thinking about you” than showing up, unexpected, with a cup of coffee or their favorite snack.
- Give a handwritten note of thanks or encouragement: Our friends at Ruby Receptionists do this so well. As their customer, I’m always receiving handwritten notes from members of their staff. (Leaders, if you want your team to do this, remember to provide the tools.)
- Give them something free: My first book was written at a Starbucks in St. Petersburg, Florida. I remember coming out of the restroom once and finding a free bag of coffee on my laptop. One of the baristas decided to Surprise & Delight me. It definitely made me happier and a loyal customer to that Starbucks.
- Use their name and let them know you know them: This is one of the more frequently shared customer service tips and still, it works! When you learn and use your customers’ names, it shows them that you’re paying attention and makes them feel like part of the family.
- Offer to help: Proactively look for opportunities to assist others and jump in when needed.
- Really Listen: Learn to really focus on the person in front of you. Practice being 100% present with them.
- Tell them how glad you are to see them. “I love coming into your Dad’s room,” the nurse said. “This is where I come when I want to smile.” I’ll personally never forget those words coming out of a nurse in the hospital where my Dad was staying. They were a bright spot in a very challenging time, and she definitely made my day. Let someone know it makes your day to see them!
- Make them laugh: Comedian Milton Berle said, “Laughter is an instant vacation” – and what could make someone happier than that. See if you can, with kind humor, make someone laugh today.
So, will you take the challenge? Better yet, will your entire team take the challenge? If so, let me know what you did in the comments below and feel free to share your customer service tips as well. What ways do you use to make someone happier than they were 10 seconds ago?
Donna Cutting is the Founder & CEO of Red-Carpet Learning Systems, Inc and the author of 2 books on customer service, including her most recent “501 Ways to Roll Out the Red Carpet for Your Customers.” Click here to learn more about our customer service training programs.