If you’ve ever worked in telemarketing or cold calling, you might have had your supervisor come by and remind you put on a smile when you’re on the phone with customers.
Obnoxious? Yes. Weird? Kind of. But not without it’s merits. “Smile while you dial” is the ultimate customer service best practice.
Why? Because customers can hear you smile. As humans, we pick up on vibes and adjust our own behavior to other people’s emotional cues. This you may already know.
But what if I told you that your tone of voice when you’re talking to your customers directly influences your company’s bottom line? Believe it or not, it does.
Upbeat and positive attitude directly
Back in 2002, Harrah’s Entertainment (now Caesar’s Entertainment) the company behind popular casinos sharing the namesake, began the transition to a new corporate culture. During that time, Harrah’s management started pushing the idea that tipped casino employees would earn higher tips if they exceeded customer expectations with an upbeat and positive attitude.
The employees pushed back. Many of the long-time table games dealers insisted that they were tipped for doing their job (i.e. dealing the game) and that their tips were simply a result of each customer’s generosity. So Harrah’s management launched a small experiment to find out who was right: the Upbeat & Positive Attitude (UPA) experiment.
The question was this: “Could an employee with an upbeat and positive attitude change the outcome of an otherwise standard interaction?”
First, they found that compared to general niceties (i.e. giving a warm welcome, making eye contact, smiling), UPA had the biggest impact on customer satisfaction ratings:
“The use of enthusiastic, energetic, uses tone (volume and inflection) AND gestures to convey positive energy.”
In a split test, they found that employees who demonstrated that UPA behavior earned on average 51% more in tips, compared to those who demonstrated only mediocre behavior. In other words, customers responded really well – and with their wallets – to employees that made them feel good.
The most upbeat & positive employees received dramatically higher customers satisfaction ratings (56%) than their mediocre counterparts (12%), even when wait times were exactly the same.
Being happy and upbeat when you work with customers is directly linked to positive association and higher customer satisfaction with both the individual and the company.
What does it mean to talk happy?
Talking happy means conveying a positive tone and energy to make your customers feel good when they talk to you. At Buffer, they like to call it “the warm fuzzies.” Austin Powers likes to call it “feeling groovy.” However you want to look at it, when you’re a support rep, your words set the tone for the way you interact with customers and for every interaction after that. If you can find and replace some of those pedantic, critical, passive-aggressive or dismissive with better word choice, a more positive energy, wouldn’t you do it? That’s what this handy guide is for, to “find and replace” your vocabulary with a better one.