Providing Positive Customer Service (even when you don't feel like it)


What does the concept of positive thinking have to do with customer service?  Plenty! Human emotions are easily transferred to others. And when you're dealing with the public, you're dealing with a lot of humans.

By making an effort to stay positive...

  • you protect yourself from people who are expressing negative emotions, and
  • you have an opportunity to uplift others

But that's not all. Studies1 suggest that positivity offsets the negative impact of stress on our bodies, improving things like job and life satisfaction and emotional and physical well being. 



For customer service employees, there are even more benefits to positivity. It:

• makes the shift go smoother

• makes interactions with customers more fun and interesting

• increases tips (if you are a tipped employee)



Managers who practice positivity set the tone for the team and play a key role in:

• decreasing employee turnover and increasing employee engagement

• achieving higher levels of customer satisfaction

• increasing their own job satisfaction




In customer service, positivity can take many forms. It can mean being upbeat and engaging when interacting with customers and it can mean not letting yourself "go negative,"  when you (or your customer) are having an off day. 

You don't have to be an outgoing person to be positive. Anyone can make a positive connection with others. Positivity is a mindset you put on every day. Your decision to be positive impacts each and every customer. It is a springboard for creating the kinds of fun and memorable experiences that generate repeat business and compel customers to recommend your business to others.

4 Tips for Expressing Positivity

1. Sometimes the easiest way to make things fun for customers is to have fun yourself.  Show your customers you're happy to be there!  

2. Look for opportunities to provide extraordinary or "above and beyond" acts of kindness or consideration for customers who might need added assistance or attention.  

3. When thinking about ways to delight customers, remember that your actions don't have to be elaborate.  You can just remember to smile, listen attentively when they speak, and get to know them better by asking questions.

4. Keep a sense of humor

6 Things to Do When You Don't Feel Like Being Positive 

Say it's one of those days when you're feeling a little out of sorts...or your car wouldn't start and you had to ride share to work...or you've just learned a family member needs surgery.  How do you stay positive and keep your bad mood from impacting customers? It's not easy, but there are specific things you can do:

1. BREATHE.  Take slow deep breaths.  Exhale and make the decision to "let go" of negative thoughts.

2. Choose to be "ON." Make the decision to be "on" while you're working (like an actor stepping on to a stage -- step into your role as Customer Service Pro.)

Note: Remember that authenticity is important.  Choosing to be "ON" means choosing to be the best person you can be in a given moment, despite the circumstances. It means being genuine and sincere -- and available to your customers.


3. Set aside distractions. Intentionally choose to leave the things that are bothering you at the door.

4. Think Positive. Positive actions start with positive thoughts.  So think positive thoughts about your customers. 

5. Smile. One study2 found that smiling--even when you don't feel like it--reduces your heart rate and blood pressure.

6. And....if your customer is challenging, stay positive by:

• choosing not to take their mood or dissatisfaction personally

• practicing empathy

• listening without interrupting (sometimes all a customer wants is to be heard)

• striving to be a bright spot in that person's day and