SCORE Small Business Blog

Customer Service: Do Your Customers Know You Laugh?

j04003551I tell my SCORE clients to have fun with their businesses.  When my business career started (don’t ask how long ago that was!), we as business women wore navy suits with red silk scarves and all tried to be little men.  Life was very serious and not much fun.  Then I began to realize the person in the navy suit and red silk scarf wasn’t me and I didn’t like her.  So, I still wore the navy suit (money was tight), but changed to colored blouses sans the red silk scarf.

Funny thing happened.

I began to lighten up, have fun, laugh and business picked up.  My customers began to see me as a personality and they liked what they saw.  I noticed that when I laughed and smiled, they laughed and smiled.  We always talk about how important networking is in building our business, but I think we forget to talk about the fun involved in building those relationships. If you are not having fun with your business maybe you are taking yourself too seriously and chances are your customer relationships are not as strong as they could be. We like to be around  people that make us feel good – how do your customers perceive you?  Are you fun to do business with?  Are they glad to see you?  Let me know your thoughts.

-Betty Otte, SCORE Orange County
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Discussion (10) Comment

  1. Betty OtteVisitor

    Hi, thank you SCORE! Of course that is why (we) SCORE is (are) here.
    Another alternative is to go to and check out our cyber counseling. 2,000 volunteers counselors nationwide waiting to help you. Sorry I didn’t think to say it myself.

  2. SCOREVisitor

    Hi Debra,

    Don’t forget that SCORE is here to help you!

    Whether you need help with marketing, sales or performing a competitive analysis. You can find a free mentor near you by visiting Find SCORE or search for a mentor online at Ask SCORE.

    Thanks for visiting the blog and participating in the conversation!

  3. Betty OtteVisitor

    Hi, Debra: thank you for your wonderful and insightful comment. As you know, we have to build relationships in business and people enjoy being around those that make them feel good. Laughter is good for more than the digestion, it is good for making others, as well as ourselves, feel good. Sometimes we women get so intense that our personality doesn’t shine through. You are a very wise woman to look inside yourself for a possible cause. You are to be congratulated! A great smile can go miles. Good luck.

  4. Debra CVisitor

    After reading your blog, this may be the reason I am not picking up customers.
    My business is service related. I can’t go to them, but instead they come to me.
    After having only one customer yesterday amongst 500 people , I went home , discouraged and distraught.. I began analyzing the situation.
    At first I thought, maybe it’s because I am a women, and all these men have something against women taking over this industry.
    My second thought was, the people were there for one specific reason, and not prepared to see my business there.
    Then finally late last night, I came to the conclusion, maybe it’s not them but me. I have been going through many major stressful events lately and they can pick up on my spirit. It is the negative energy that I am portraying to them, rather than a cheerful vibrant person.
    Could this be?
    And then this morning I read your blog, and decided perhaps this maybe why I am not getting the customer like I should.

  5. BettyVisitor

    Hi, Marti: thank you for your comment. I can super relate to jokes sent on e-mail, but, like you, I respond. I know it encourages the process, but more importantly, it encourages the relationship and the friendship. I am always pleased when I get these things from new clients or friends as it means they are reaching out for friendship — even if you are number 79 on their ‘send’ list. Your sensitivity to culture is very important. I can see you are an excellent net worker.

  6. MartiVisitor

    Yes, Yes, a thousand times Yes! A shared laugh builds trust, which is the foundation on which lasting business relationships are built. And, it must be genuine and inoffensive. I can poke fun at myself when I’m with clients while I would never make fun of them or their circumstances. I am also sensitive to the fact that they may not share my values or views and so my humor has to come from a safe place. I also try to laugh with them around whatever humor they might bring to our interactions, even if it’s not something I particularly find amusing. Some of the forwarded email jokes I get from my clients are things I could live without, but their intent is to include me in their world so I respond to the intent not the content.

  7. BettyVisitor

    Hi, Julie: thank you for your comment. You are really spot on – life should be fun and it is our job to make it so. It is especially so now that most people are a little down due to the economy – if we can come to our customers with a smile and a friendly manner, their day will brighten, also. The added benefit is that you can’t smile and not brighten your own day.

  8. BettyVisitor

    Hi, Davis: I apologize if the article sounded like I laugh at the customers. That is way far from my intent. I think it is fun to laugh and be friendly WITH the customer. Never never want to do anything to embarrass anyone in business or in real life. That is a double lose lose.
    Thank you for bringing that to my attentin.

  9. julie branderAdmin

    When you are fun to do business with not only do you leave a lasting impression which is essential to be remembered but everyone does business with people that they like. Excellent article and so true
    Julie Brander SCORE New Haven

  10. DavisVisitor

    I was afraid you laughed AT the customers.


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