I was a humorous motivational speaker at a customer service franchise conference. It seems that many service companies aren't managing expectations and this drastically reduces customer service and guest satisfaction.
The arguement goes like this, when people don't know what to expect, they expect the best. Thanks to unrealistic advertising, virtual time that doesn't align with reality and the fact that most expectations are based on customer assumptions. Simply based on a hunch, a customers expectations are not highly researched.
Human beings have proven over and over they we are lousy at forming assumptions. Typically we assumb we can expect more than we reasonably should.
When I was humorous speaker for the customer service franchise professionals, I suggested balancing expectations with humor. In the midst of dissonance, a quick burst of Laughter provides a feel good endorphin rush. It is a great way to help dissatisfied customers let go of their woes and bring them into the present moment with a positive emotional rush to boot.
Humor is also unexpected. Given the problem comes from unrealistic expectations in the first place, it plays a huge role in satisfaction.
speaking at the customer service franchise conference, my recommendations were to:
- define customer service expectations. In any service scenerio ask... what questions will a customer have? what can they expect? where will they be dissappointed( ie - long wait times is a big one)? than define and communicate these expectations. Service scripts may help staff to not forget the details.
- use humor to manage expectations. Before customers have an opportunity to be upset, think of humorous ways to decrease the tension around potential dissatisfaction.
What kind of humor will help manage expectations?
Make fun of yourself... this works well if people are dissatisfied, turn the humor on yourself and just laugh along with them. Studies show people find others that can laugh at themselves as more competent and confident.
Laugh at the situation...You turn negative emotion into a positive the moment you find the humor in it. A great distraction, humor naturally arises when things go wrong.
When i was ordering my meal at a restaurant, the smoke detector went off. The waiter said, sounds like dinners ready. I laughed, and the annoying noise didn't bother me at all!
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