“How can I help you today?”

We’ve all heard these familiar words ring out over phone lines, customer service lines, and chat messages. And, while they are meant to be engaging, sometimes they fall short.

Customer service has changed drastically in the last few decades. With the advent of technology, much of traditional customer service has replaced human interaction with artificial intelligence and automated assistance. While this has made customer service less labour intensive and more efficient, it has left many people craving the human side of service.

We know that customer service agents are chained to a script, which often makes them sound like humourless robots, and makes us wonder if we’re talking to a person or a machine.

But this is often a customer’s only interaction with a company, so doesn’t it make sense to make this communication more meaningful? A little bit of positive thinking on the issue made me think about laughter and humour.

Humour can be a powerful antidote for improving the customer experience. The key is knowing when and how to use it to deliver the best results.

Learn the 6 ways Laughter can improve Children's Wellbeing

So let’s dive into some of the ways you can encourage the right kind of humour within your customer service team.

Customer service can at times be viewed as dry as old kindling. So how can you motivate your workforce to develop a sense of humour and the ability to bring laughter into the mix?

The great news is that humour can be learned. From delivery techniques to gauging each circumstance, you can train your team to exercise humour skillfully throughout any situation. Take the time within your training sessions to show customer service agents the kind of humour that is acceptable, and the situations in which they can use such humour. Give them the correct mind-set and they will see the power of positivity and how it can make a difference to their own day.

So I’ve come up with a few tips that I believe can make a difference to your customers’ experience when they contact your business.

Be yourself. This can never be emphasized too much. If you try to be something you’re not, it’s just going to make the conversation awkward and forced. Don’t just shoehorn in a gag because you’re trying to fill your laughter quota, it won’t work.

Obviously, you need to steer clear of inappropriate or unclean humour.

Think about what kind of humour you would appreciate in a given situation.

Use positivity to your advantage. If you begin the conversation in a tone of voice that suggests your bored it’s going to be very difficult to inject humour into the conversation. So let your voice ring with the power of positivity and the humour should flow a lot more easily.

Make it relevant to the conversation. Use word association to come up with something witty and mirthful.

Don’t be ambiguous — the customer should know it’s humour. And you can cue them to this with your use of laughter.

Be kind — although there will always be that one person who takes it the wrong way, kindness will help your humour to hit the right mark.

Stay away from humour if you’re discussing such things as death, mental health, or serious injuries.

Whether you serve as a customer service rep over the phone, over live chat, or in person, these techniques can help you to meet any situation that crosses your path.

Remember that using humour in your customer service will make you stand out from the majority of dry, automated competition that surrounds us and will make you memorable. Using humour and the positivity that shines from humour will make your business stand out like a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day.

And on top of the benefit to your business, you’ll also find your customer service teams will be a lot happier working in an environment of laughter and positivity. And a happy team means a more productive team so you’re in a win-win situation.

One sure-fire way to get your team on board is showing them the power of positivity through laughter. Once they experience the buzz of laughter in the workplace they’ll find it easier to bring that humour and fun into their everyday routine.

Another interesting article I have covered is How laughter can increase your sales – it’s well worth a look at.