Business Practices | | Published January 08, 2013

Customer Service Smiles Can Help Post Holiday Stress

help desk softwareNow that the Christmas and New Year's holidays are over and on their way out, the traveling is done with and the kids are back in school, all the hardships and tribulations of the past few months are over, right? It's the time to sit back, relax, eat the leftover cake and cookies, finish off the remaining eggnog and wait for the Valentine's Day fun.

Well, not so fast there partygoer. There's still one more tough task to make it through before closing the doors on the 2012 holiday season: the dreaded post-holiday return-a-thon!

People everywhere excitedly opened their gifts up Christmas morning only to immediately drop their smile for a frown. That wasn't the sweater/smart phone/hot sauce set they wanted, they wanted the other one! Or, potentially worse; they received a gift they were super excited about and desperately wanted only to find it doesn't work. Now they are about to call or visit customer support and demand retribution for it! So it's essential that your team maintains their customer service smiles during the post holiday return-a-thon.

Put on a Smile

You've most likely heard of the smile I am referring to here, but here is a quick refresher. The common thinking is when you pick up a phone to answer a customer call or even when you type an email you should put on a smile.

Why? Smiling has been proven to immediately change your mood. As soon as the edges of your lips move up your demeanor changes and you are more likely not to react badly to an angry customer. In my personal experience, this shows through when answering email support tickets, too, but the mileage may vary.

Maintaining this outer/inner smile can be a little tough when you know you have a day's worth of belligerence waiting for you. Even in your eighth hour of constant emails, though, it's important to keep it up after all, the latest customer has no idea you've been at it all day. They simply want their broken item replaced.

Tips on Staying Chipper

Of course sometimes you need a little boost to help you make it through the day. The post-holiday return-a-thon can be brutal, so it's important to recognize when you're getting overstressed. Take some action to help refresh and maintain that smile while manning the helpdesk.

Make sure to take frequent breaks. At the very least get up from your desk, stretch, meditate, or go outside for five minutes every hour. It helps recharge your batteries in ways you don't even realize, especially if you're just staring at a computer all day. If your boss keeps insisting you just fight through the day without breaks, find other ways to cool off. (Or perhaps speak a bit about "pulsing" all the greats are doing it!)

If you're the leader: don't drive your people into the ground! While things may be insane, don't just try to push the customer support team to tough it out. Have some nice pick-me-ups in the break room on hand like good food or quick little games they can play to take their mind off work for just a minute. Otherwise, everyone may get burned out pretty quickly.

So now that you are back to your respective desks after your mini-breaks, you'll hopefully be charged back up enough to make it through another crazy hour! And here's to commending your strength to smile while providing superior customer support.

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