Using Humor

Here’s a different topic – using humor in creating customer relationships. Many service advisors attempt to use humor to create those lasting customer relationships that we’re all after. However, too many fall short. I’ve seen cartoons posted in shops depicting an unfortunate customer talking with a technician about their vehicle where in the background there is their vehicle with an obvious problem. Then there are the signs that suggest one labor rate if you provide parts, one if the customer provides parts, and an exorbitant one if they come to watch you work on their car. All of these are valid attempts at humor except that an important point was missed…the humor is often related to what the shop experiences…NOT what the customer experiences.

Never forget that the things you and I might find funny about working on automobiles, dealing with customers, or working with technicians is completely missed by your customer. In the worst case, the attempt at humor can seem demeaning to a customer. They don’t do what you do for a living. They don’t have the same challenges, daily experiences, or situational understanding that you do. I’m not suggesting eliminating humor, because humor is very important in human relationships. I’m suggesting that you take a look with fresh eyes at how humor is being used by yourself, those you work with, and in your shop. See it as a customer might.

Choose when to use humor. Most often the appropriate time to use humor is when the subject has nothing to do with an automobile, repair, or the shop. Joke about the weather, a current event, or the price of Thanksgiving turkeys. Just don’t joke about getting a vehicle repaired, how much it costs, or when the work will get done!

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