Merge's Blog

Is your customer service helping you laugh all the way to the bank?

Later this year in November, I will be sharing the mainstage platform with my professional colleague, friend and all-round funny guy Michael Kerr at the Customer Service Leadership Summit in Calgary.  Which is why I am thrilled that he agreed to guest on the blog again today.  Well that, and of course, because his messages are always so on-point.  Last time Mike was my guest on the blog, he wrote about the Seven messages leaders need to deliver to their customer service team.  Today, he poses the question:

Is Your Customer Service Helping You Laugh All the Way to the Bank?

One way to exceed your customers’ expectations and stand out from the herd to be heard over your competition is to look for creative ways to add a bit of fun to your customer service. Here are just a few ideas from my latest book, The Humor Advantage: Why Some Businesses Are Laughing All the Way to the Bank, to help you get your creative juices flowing:

  • Great service isn’t about blindly smiling at the customer, it’s doing something that gets the customer smiling back at you. The smiles you generate are the ones that truly matter, which is why I love the STP program initiative that Barry Williams, instituted with his employees. STP—Smile Transfer Protocol—was simple, yet remarkably effective. Each employee recorded the number of times they were able to transfer a smile onto a customer’s face. The employee who created the most smiles at the end of the week won a prize. Williams said the impact on employee morale and customer satisfaction was phenomenal
  • Add some humor to your customer comment forms. Barry Williams, found that when he added some humor to customer comment forms at the response rate more than doubled
  • Have front-line employees wear a fun badge, like the pharmacists I met wearing a badge that read, “Don’t Read This Badge”. Perhaps a badge with a fun slogan, service promise or quirky question
  • Thank your customers in an outrageous way: AFA JCDecaux sends a “hugging squad” over to a client’s office when they are awarded a large contract
  • To help bank-goers enjoy their banking experience, each branch of Umpqua Banks in Oregon is given a special fund designed solely to engage customers in a fun way. They’ve been known to bring in ice cream, popcorn and sandwich trucks for their customers
  • Create a fun, unique space for your customers. The Winnipeg International Airport has an official “Hugging Rug” at the bottom of the arrivals escalator, while the international airport in Nice, France offers a “Kiss ‘n’ Ride” commuter lane
  • Offer a wacky promotion: Gary’s Uptown Restaurant in northern California offers a “Bald Guy’s Menu” (the owner just happens to be bald) every Wednesday that attracts customers from more than fifty miles away. Customers pay based on how much hair they have: Totally bald and you pay nothing; half bald and you get a 50% discount. Men with toupees or comb-overs have to reveal their bald spots to qualify for the proportional discount. You can extend an idea like this to all sorts of offbeat promotions.

Michael Kerr is a Hall of Fame international business speaker and the author of six books, including The Humor Advantage: Why Some Businesses Are Laughing All the Way to the Bank.  Reach him at:

Want to take your company laughing all the way to the bank?

If you want to learn more about things you can do to amp up your customer service and add to your bottom line, then Mike and I (plus two fantastic speaker colleagues of mine) will be headlining the Customer Service Leadership Summit in Calgary later this year on November 15.  In one power-packed day you and your leadership team will learn smart practices and fresh ideas to attract new customers, and turn current customers into raving fans.  Seats are filling up already so register early.  I’m giving you fair warning, this event will sell out, so don’t be disappointed!!

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