Recently Students at Makerere University Kampala were in a study assessment of customer care service in departmental stores around Kampala. They wanted to identify the factors contributing to good customer service in the stores. They found out that the stores which promoted an environment of laughter, jokes and smiles between the customers and staff had higher customer satisfaction levels.
Additionally stores where the managers laughed a great deal with the staff and customers had even better customer service. The stores where staff were too serious and too concentrating on their work had very low customer satisfaction.
Anderson an American friend of mine and first time tourist to Africa recently returned to the States from a summer holiday in Burundi. He was however at pains understanding how deeply impoverished Africans living in poverty and surrounded in squalor can find space to heartily laugh and be merry. It was so baffling to him.
These two scenarios are so telling of the power that lies in a laugh. Many Businesses have failed because the owners underestimated the power of a haughty laugh in their business interactions. Laughter can be the only remaining thread to connect a business deal, it can be the remaining key to opening ones’ brain to understand a lesson or make an invention or discovery; laughter may be the only thing you are waiting to say yes to a marriage proposal and make a life decision; it may be the only reaction to save one from being abused, killed or dying on a hospital bed; it may be the only action needed to grant one freedom or forgiveness. What an immense power that lies in laughter.
The power of the impoverished African’s laughter actually lies in the laugh itself.
Show me someone who has no reason for laughter and I will point you to a struggling life full of problems and pain. Laughter may overshadow, sometimes overrule pain, poverty, worry or disaster.
Laughter is an intense emotion of human beings. It is a universal language and it is a unique human phenomenon that happens in every culture. It helps us to go beyond our cultural differences by emphasizing what we have in common.
Laughter promotes communication. It is a social lubricant which connects, bonds, and builds rapport. Laughter increases our rapport with others and this has professional implications including increasing compliance after establishing rapport. For example, salespeople sell more, patients tend to comply more with health regimens, and students work harder in class following interactions involving laughter. Accordingly, laughter is a reinforcer. It can motivate and energize people.