Service with a smile: Still meaningful in an online world?

By Natasha Tyner-Lewis

In a world of e-commerce, chatbots, automation, and multi-tasking, does the expression “Service with a Smile” still mean anything?

I believe the answer is ‘Yes’. As someone with close to 20 years in customer-facing roles, you might think I’m biased (and I am). However, I can see the quantifiable impact it makes in my day-to-day interactions with PiiComm customers.

I think the impact is even more powerful in today’s online world. ‘Service with a smile’ is about a personal and corporate mindset. The personal touch of a genuine smile and its warm effect holds vast value. Customers appreciate and crave authentic connections with service providers; providers who genuinely care about their needs and concerns. By treating customers with empathy and respect, businesses foster trust and loyalty, ultimately leading to long-term relationships.

Service with a smile (and by ‘smile’, I mean warmth and authenticity), can transform average transactions into outstanding experiences. If you’re looking for tangible examples on how to do this in your work day, here are a few ways I add a ‘smile’ into my work as a customer account manager:

  1. Greeting: Before getting on a call with a customer, take the time to mentally focus. Review notes from your last call or the most recent email correspondence. Close out your other screens and be sure to put your video on. Only then are you ready to join the call and – yes! – start it with a genuine smile to kick things off.
  2. Scheduling: Being able to execute on #1 above can feel like an impossible task if you are in back-to-back meetings all day. I try to book 45-minute meetings instead of 60 minutes for this reason. Many customers thank me for this as it helps them to avoid back-to-back meetings too.
  3. Active listening: Listen more than you speak is a golden rule for me. Show genuine interest in your customers’ concerns, ask follow-up questions, and acknowledge their emotions (we’re all human, after all!). If there’s a challenge they are facing, proactively solve it or offer to problem-solve it together.
  4. Collaborating: While screen-sharing in video calls is common, I’ve been experimenting with virtual whiteboards more recently. They can really be helpful with the collaborative problem-solving I noted in #3.
  5. Prompt responses: If a customer calls you on the phone, you pick up even if you might not know the answer on the spot, right? I like to take this approach for email too. I’ll provide an immediate response to let my customer know that their concern or question has been received and is important to me. I will then follow up with the details when I have all the information.
  6. Never assume: After I have resolved an issue or completed a task for a customer, I like to follow-up to ensure they are satisfied with the resolution. I never assume they are satisfied …. I want to make sure my customers know that I am committed to supporting them and that they get the resolution they need.

The above are examples from my personal experience. It is important for organizations to grow a culture of service excellence to create consistency. This involves hiring and training employees who embody the values of empathy, positivity, and genuine care.

The phrase “service with a smile” is not a lost skill, despite what many people think. Organizations can prioritize great customer service, leave a lasting impression, and develop strong customer relationships by recognizing the value of genuine human connections. So, let’s embrace this skill and appreciate its influence on both businesses and customers.

Remember, a smile can go a long way!

Natasha joined PiiComm in 2018 and started learning the enterprise mobility management business on the floor as a service technician. In her current role, she is a customer account manager responsible for working with PiiComm customers to ensure that they receive top-notch service, while anticipating what they might need next.


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