If it is important to live your life with a sense of humour, then I believe humour is also an important skill for any type of client services job. I have looked at many client services job descriptions, but surprisingly, sense of humour is rarely listed as a required skill. Not only for the customers – a sense of humour is proven to be very beneficial for your colleagues (this does include peers and management) and for yourself.
For yourself: Being in the front line and dealing with a wide variety of customers inquiries/demands is already tough. Adding to that, the emotional and sometimes irrational outbursts of customers, it becomes even tougher. After moments of stress, having a laughter break helps release the physical and mental tensions to maintain a balanced state of mind. A funny memory, a silly quote, a hilarious video or simply a quick chat with your go-to joke person usually will do the trick.
For your colleagues: most organizations usually have an entire team dedicated to client services. As a matter of fact, humour draws people together and strengthens the team cohesion. I am always grateful to hear someone telling a joke or laughing in a positive way. I usually will not miss an opportunity to create a laughter wave around me because I know it is always appreciated.
For your customers: there is always a place and time to use humour. When a customer speaks to you with an irritated voice, venturing in a joke is certainly not an option. However, it may become possible once the customer calms down. Using your own judgment, you need to ensure the client is in a humour receptive mode. You also need to gauge the appropriateness of the joke and take into consideration the timing. My philosophy is to laugh with the customer – not at the customer. With advancement in technology and perfectly written call scripts, humour brings a human and personal touch to the conversation and allows customers to relax and be in a better state of mind to make the right decision. Moreover, the organization’s reputation in providing great client service spreads around which makes exciting customers happy and attracts new ones. Humour should be included in customer service training materials.
When workplaces invest in humour, it is a guaranteed Return On Investment. As Micheal Kerr concludes in his video:”You need to put humour to work for less stress and more success”.