Delivering and receiving customer service keeps the Doctor away.
Customers are real people, those delivering Customer Service are real people too. We all have hopes, fears and expectations, often the same ones. It’s easy to forget about the human emotions that are inherently involved in the interactions that revolve around service. Those emotions and feelings have a positive and negative effect on us, right there and then in the moment and over a longer period.
Surprisingly, some still need convincing about the positive investment in Service delivery. There is convincing science behind it. We decided to look at the evidence.
Research and evidence
Research, undertaken by Neurosense on behalf of American Express, showed that two in three volunteers saw their pulse rate increase, their breathing slow and their sweat glands swing into action when shown images of workers going the extra mile for customers. According to the research, these are the same physical responses we feel when thinking of something pleasurable – such as a good catch-up with an old friend or your favourite sports team winning. Dr Jack Lewis, a neuroscientist who looked at the research, said he was amazed at the impact good service has on people. “It was a big surprise to see that the volunteers had a response similar to what we call a ‘peak pleasure’. This means they were having a powerful emotional reaction. Dr Lewis says the physical reaction is partly caused by neural electrical stimulation in the brain and partly a hormonal response involving adrenaline.
A 2005 study from Hebrew University in Israel found a link between kindness and a gene that releases dopamine, a feel-good neurotransmitter in the brain.
Research by Alan Luks in his 1991 book, The Healing Power of Doing Good, found that helpers reported a distinct physical sensation when being kind. Many reported feeling more energetic, warm, calmer and greater self-worth, a phenomenon he calls the “helper’s high.”
Be Kind to a Human
A more recent 2011 study of churchgoers ‘Be Kind to Humankind Week’, found that people who are in the frame of mind to offer love and support to others have better mental health than those less inclined to offer kindness. It was even found to have the physical effect of increasing dopamine in the brain, making us feel calmer and happier. Kindness also ups our self worth and reduces nagging doubts and worries.
Reduced anxiety. For four weeks, University of British Columbia researchers assigned people with high levels of anxiety to do kind acts for other people at least six times a week. The acts of kindness included things like holding the door open for someone, doing chores for other people, donating to charity, and buying lunch for a friend, says study author Lynn Alden, a professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia. The researchers found that doing nice things for people led to a significant increase in people’s positive moods. It also led to an increase in relationship satisfaction and a decrease in social avoidance. “People who engage in kind acts become happier over time,” says Sonja Lyubomirsky, PhD, a professor at the University of California, Riverside. Why? “When you’re kind to others, you feel good as a person—more moral, optimistic, and positive,” she says.
Smile for science
In the study, to be published in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science, researchers at the University of Kansas found that the act of smiling has a positive effect on our happiness and physical health, helping the heart recover more quickly after stressful events.
Optimism and positive thinking
Immunity is one area where your thoughts and attitudes can have a particularly powerful influence. In one study we read, researchers found that activation in brain areas associated with negative emotions led to a weaker immune response to a flu vaccine. Researchers Segerstrom and Sephton found that people who were optimistic about a specific and important part of their lives, such as how well they were doing in school, exhibited a stronger immune response than those who had a more negative view of the situation. Not only can positive thinking impact your ability to cope with stress and your immunity, it also has an impact on your overall well-being. The Mayo Clinic reports a number of health benefits associated with optimism, including a reduced risk of death from cardiovascular problems, less depression, and an increased lifespan.
Customer Service is about feelings
Customers have feelings, be sure those are good feelings
Employees have feelings too, happiness is infectious
While focusing on the top line statistics, don’t lose sight of the impact of one to one customer interactions
Start with a smile, give it to others and encourage them to pass it along