South Africans love to laugh, but we don’t always make the most of our sense of humour.
Some local businesses are giving it a try though – and thriving as a result. Take Nando’s, with their topical ads relating to current affairs. Their tongue in cheek scripts and scenarios are provocative, relevant and hilarious – and it gets people talking, due to the fact that it works.
City Lodge TV ads also put some humour into it, where the guest feels so at home that he comes down to the dining room in his underpants.
The trick is: Don’t try to be funny if you’re not. But if you have the budget to hire some talented writers, or access to some bona fide comics, give it a bash. It could help set you apart from your competitors and improve your customers’ experience of your brand.
I like the Kulula.com approach to air travel, which distinguished the company in this usually bone-dry market segment. It made a change from the usual airline experience, where cabin crew recite a script for the thousandth time about how to fasten seatbelts, gas masks dropping from the ceiling and where the doors are. By contrast, Kulula’s script had classic lines like, “Kulula is pleased to announce that we have some of the best flight attendants in the industry. Unfortunately, none of them are on this flight!”
It’s self-deprecating humour, but it’s great because it actually gets a laugh and creates a good vibe on the flight. World-class customer service! Ensure that the jokes are not at all offensive, or this can backfire.
The great thing about humour is that it is a fundamentally human way of interacting. It helps create that real personal contact that we strive for in customer service. It is the opposite of systematic, repetitive communication that treats people like cattle. So if you can do it properly, you’ll be a winner. If not, give the funnies a skip.
Service Tip: If you can’t be funny, just be friendly.