How To Make Customer Service Interactions More Fun Part, Part I

Customer Service

November 29. 2014– Dear Secret Diary, for quite some time, I’ve been interested in how to add some fun and spice to customer service interactions.

I don’t even remember specifically where it started, or whether it was in person or on the phone.  My best recollection is perhaps that it might have been at the Post Office.

When the customer service representative asked, “How can I help you?”, I responded, “I’d like a hot fudge sundae with whipped cream and a cherry on top.”  Turns out she did too.

So I ran with the “hot fudge sundae” thing for a while to see how it played out.  Folks and I enjoyed some laughs, and it kindled some nice conversations.  I also found it also smoothed the way should problems arise in working through whatever prompted my visit or call in the first place.

But then I hit a problem one night.  I was in a stunningly crowded ice-cream store, and the staff was overwhelmed.  They had a system where the person behind the counter helping your party stayed with you for the entire process–  from ordering and serving you through paying.

The woman helping us was doing a great job, but it was clear she was about to pull her hair out.  When she asked, “Can I get you anything else?”, I realized I couldn’t very well ask for a hot fudge sundae, unless I wanted on… which I didn’t.

While us customers in the shop obviously had it much easier then the customer service folks, it really was pandemonium on both sides of the counter.  All of sudden, I heard the words come out of my mouth, “Can I please have a vodka and tonic?”  (Ice-cream shops don’t sell liquor in the states.)

The young lady helping us stared at me in disbelief, paused for a second, and broke out in hysterical laughter.  Not surprisingly, she said she wanted one too.

Diary, I was thrilled to be able to help her experience such a moment during her hectic and frenzied work night.

So I went back and forth for a while, using both the “vodka and tonic” and “hot fudge sundae” concepts.  (Folks working in software company call centers really do seem to like it when you ask for a vodka and tonic.)

In the end, it does seem that “vodka and tonic” outperforms “hot fudge sundae” in spreading laughter.  I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.

Diary, this topic is one of my favorites, and I look forward to returning to it in the not too distant future.