Research suggests that staff who have fun at work, believe that they also provide more effective customer service.
So, how can we make customer service more fun?
1. Offer staff training on how to make customer service fun
Research shows that customer service staff can be taught strategies to help them have fun at work. This involves finding ways to be themselves with customers, in order to create genuine, meaningful interactions.
Strategies include mirroring back body language; choose to be happy; smiling to create rapport; be ready to engage with customers using a similar kind of energy.
In the first instance, if customers are happy, be jovial back; short of time, be polite and efficient and so on.
2. Take staff well-being seriously
Workplace wellness initiatives often generate opportunities for staff to have fun and feel valued.
Team challenges provide an opportunity for a bit of friendly competitiveness; visits from an expert to check workstation set-up or other occupational issues provide opportunities for staff to share concerns about any pain and discomfort; and healthy food programs, can help staff to feel that someone cares.
People tend to have more fun in environments where they feel cared for.
3. Communicate well and listen to staff concerns
Keep communication open, taking the time to explain any workplace changes.
Be available to talk to staff and take seriously any concerns. Employees need to feel free to share both work and non-work concerns, that may impact on work.
Healthy, open communication helps to generate an atmosphere of trust between employer and employees - an important condition for generating fun and satisfaction at work.
4. Affirm and reward staff
Everyone likes to feel valued and appreciated for their contribution. Simple, specific praise goes a long way.
Rewards can include simple thank-you, cards, certificates, prizes, special discounts and bonuses. Sometimes a company may not have a great deal of discretionary spending. However, if a manager knows their staff, they will know the kinds of rewards that will help that person feel special.
5. Provide opportunities for informal and planned fun events
Research shows that opportunities for friendship at work are highly valued by many workers.
For customer service staff, it can be useful to have collegial time together, away from the public. In this way they can let off some steam and create important friendly connections. These connections will help them to feel supported and equip them to better handle busy and potentially stressful periods at work.
6. Reduce unnecessary work-related stress
When we feel stressed it is hard to have much fun. Don't let stress built up. The five strategies above can help to reduce unnecessary stress for employees.
Other strategies include providing appropriate and sufficient breaks, products and skills training, dealing with high work-load issues, providing support and training on stress management, giving workers some control over their work-space and allowing opportunities for debriefing after difficult customer service interactions.
These six strategies will help to make customer service fun for your staff and increase job satisfaction. This in turn should lead to better customer service.
So go to it, start promoting some fun at work today!