Trying too hard to be funny is always a recipe for disaster in online customer services, and given the choice, most callers would probably rather have a no-nonsense interaction with a company's representatives rather than one loaded with jokes that don't land. But when it does work, there's nothing like a creative approach to an interaction to vary things up and help defuse what could be a very troublesome situation.
In an encounter that will surely earn a place in the Customer Messaging Hall of Fame, one Netflix worker was able to generate a worthwhile conversation that not only solved a customer's problem, but did so in a fun way.
It all started when a customer named Norm began engaging with one of Netflix's online messaging support staff to try and figure out why the show he was watching kept looping. VentureBeat posted a snapshot of the entire interaction, which shows that the representative working for Netflix opened his part of the conversation as if he was a captain, telling the customer that he was "Cpt. Mike of the good ship Netflix" and addressing him as a "crew member."
Rather than get turned off by this Norm played along, telling Mike that he had encountered "a temporal loop" and called himself "Lt. Norm." Not only did the ensuing back-and-forth eventually lead to the problem being fixed, Norm broke character to comment on how fun the whole thing was, saying "this needs to go on a blog somewhere."
At the end, Captain Mike got perhaps the biggest compliment any online customer services worker can get: when he asked if there were any more problems worth reporting, Norm responded, "I almost wish there were."
It can be a gamble to try something this ambitious with your customers, but one worth taking for the loyalty and good memories it could create.