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Put Some Fun Into Serious Business

The other day I was talking to my friend and fellow customer experience (CX) expert, Dan Gingiss. He shared how he’s seen businesses take something that is either really boring or very serious—or both—and make them entertaining. He gave a great example.

In a legal agreement—like the agreements we accept online when we sign up for Spotify or Netflix—there is usually a lot of “fine print.” This is filled with disclaimers, indemnity clauses and more. Pretty boring information, but it’s important to share with customers. Most people skip over it; only a (very) small percentage of people take the time to read exactly what they are agreeing to. One of Dan’s clients came up with a way to call more attention to it. Rather than give the “fine print” a legal heading, they entitled it, “Covering Our Butts.” That drew attention to it, and guess what? More people read it.

The point is, you can take a lighthearted approach to serious issues and get some great results. Of course, there is a time and a place for this type of humor. If you are like me, the moment I heard Dan’s example I was already thinking about where I can use this principle.

Recently, one of our Shepard Letter subscribers shared an example of what they use instead of the traditional music when a customer is put on hold. Some companies get creative and have announcements or share tips on how to use their products. But this gentleman’s company does something different… so different, in fact, that customers actually ask to be put back on hold. His company has a series of five messages in the form of trivia questions.

Many of the trivia questions are about sports, but they’re not necessarily questions that would require you to be a true sports fan to answer. Instead, they go for something general that might be interesting—even if it is trivial—to everyone. For example, “Why is home plate-shaped the way it is?” Or, “Why is the distance from the pitcher’s mound to home plate 60 feet and six inches? Why not just 60 feet?” If people aren’t on hold long enough to hear the answer, some asked to be put back on hold! Does the experience your customer has when they are put on hold evoke that kind of response? (That’s a rhetorical question.)

Where can you put a little fun into what might normally be average and typical? I bet if you sat down with your team and shared these examples, you can come up with some great answers to that question. Even if your business is very serious, it doesn’t mean you can’t smile or have fun, even just a little…or maybe a lot!

Related: How Do You Really Know If You’re Doing a Good Job?