The other week I left UserVoice HQ and walked to La Boulange bakery, as I do many mornings, for a veggie tart and a chai (yes, I clearly live in the Bay Area). I arrived at 8:30am and discovered a line out the door. Frustrating, but I was craving my chai so I stayed in line.
As I waited in line, I noticed a cashier who wasn't manning a register or getting food for customers. Odd thing during their rush, right? Shouldn’t they be trying to help with the immense line?
Turns out she was cutting up a chocolate croissant to put out as samples. The samples sit right next to the line. All the folks tapping their feet and checking their watch now had a new focus: delicious, flaky goodness.
Helping your customers is obviously crucial. But sometimes creating a good environment for them is just as key. Wading through a robocall menu makes us angry; being put on hold with decent music and the option to mute it might make us less so. A 404 page might frustrate us; a 404 page that is funny or sincere might lighten the blow. Not knowing when customer support will respond might be agonizing; an image letting you know if you should call back in an hour might be empowering.
Take a step back from your focus on your ticket queue and email inbox (I know its hard). What can you do to make your customers happy and more comfortable? It might be something simple, like a croissant. But it will have a huge impact.