Finding Our Happy Place In Customer Service


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My good friend Al Hopper has a fun angle to his customer service blog where he compares customer service to popular movies.  He was kind enough to let me in on the fun a few months ago where we talked about the movie “Forest Gump.”  In case you missed it, check out part one and part two of our discussion.

This time, Al let me pick the movie and I chose the classic, critically acclaimed “Happy Gilmore.”  In the process we found the movie to be a treasure chest of customer service wisdom.  Here are some of our favorite quotes.

IRS Guy making excuses after he repossesses Grandma’s house: “I’m not taking her stuff so don’t take this out on me.”

AL: Ugh! This makes me cringe when I hear this from a Customer service representative. You may not ‘be’ the owner of the brand you work for, but you should “act” like an owner! I know, it’s tough when we get attacked by a customer we are trying to serve and we are taught not to take it personally. However, if we truly believe in our brands, we should take it personally FOR and WITH the Customer!

JER: Man, parenting has helped me so much with customer service.  My kids yell, kick and scream to get their way.  As their father, it has nothing to do with me or whether they like me but has everything to do with getting their way.  This is where my analogy ends though.  The customers should probably get their way if you want to keep them as customers.  Your kids probably shouldn’t get their way.  But either way, I don’t take it personally anymore.

Ben Stiller after Happy Gilmore tried to bribe him when he drops his Grandma off at the retirement home: “I can take extra special care of your grandma for free.”

AL: I loved this scene, and not just for Stiller’s awesome ‘stache! It was all about the experience! It didn’t matter that Happy and Grandma had just run into the Mista Mista Lady begging to be let out of the “resort.”  Stiller was able to make Happy feel good about leaving Grandma in a strange new place.

JER: Haha this is great, especially after Adam Sandler offers him a dollar.  In our jobs, rewards may or may not come.  Our spirit should always be to deliver awesome service for no extra charge.  Never mind the fact that the Ben Stiller character is a total jerk.

Chubs’ advice to Happy when he gets particularly angry: “Think of a place that’s perfect. Go there and all of your problems just disappear. Your own happy place”

Kevin Neeland’s similar advice to Happy: “You’ve gotta harness the good energy block the bad.”

AL: How many managers do you know that rock out to that same tune? I’ve run into a few during my time in a contact center. I’ve even used the mantra myself. Good customer service agents have embraced this practice and are better prepared for the next call.

JER: I love Jeff Toister’s concept of attitude anchors.  In a job that is often difficult and thankless, we constantly need to find ways to motivate and channel that good energy.  We need to find ways to embrace the unique beauty in each person we serve.

Announcer Vern Lundquist anticipating another outburst from Happy: “Here comes the putter throw. Wait he’s restrained himself.”

AL: Ahh, the experienced contact center agent! You know they want to go off on someone by the way they are grinning and clenching their fists, but they have learned the art of not letting it creep into their voice or tone online. ;0)

JER: True story.  I threw my phone once after a customer yelled at me.  I remember that often when I get yelled at now and choose to smile and focus on the problem and not take it personally.

Happy after going to his happy place: “It ain’t over yet Mcgavin. The way I see it we’ve only just begun.”

AL: I look at this one and think of the All-Star Customer service agent that is not willing to settle at a roadblock in a servicing need. Happy just became determined that his customer needs something done and he won’t stop until that something has been accomplished! Play on, Happy!

JER: In the final, dramatic scene of the movie, Happy has to overcome adversity to win the golf tournament.  Great customer service representatives are amazing at finding creative solutions for customers.  A customer may present a problem that is outside of the scope of your service.  With a little creativity you may find an alternative and gain yourself a customers.

What unique insights do you gain from these quotes?  Please share with a comment and stay tuned for part two of this post playing soon on Al’s blog!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jeremy Watkin
Jeremy Watkin is the Director of Customer Support and CX at NumberBarn. He has more than 20 years of experience as a contact center professional leading highly engaged customer service teams. Jeremy is frequently recognized as a thought leader for his writing and speaking on a variety of topics including quality management, outsourcing, customer experience, contact center technology, and more. When not working he's spending quality time with his wife Alicia and their three boys, running with his dog, or dreaming of native trout rising for a size 16 elk hair caddis.



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