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"The Impact of Wishing Someone 'Have a Nice Day' on Customer Experience"

On my last birthday I received just two birthday cards through the post.  Now-a-days, if they come at all, they are online or text messages.  One of the cards was from my financial advisor. He always sends one. He must have a reminder of all his clients’ birthdays in his diary. We all receive a card and no doubt we all cringe and feel negative rather than positive about the well-meaning action.  Sending birthday cards to clients is now so passé.


I felt the same way the other evening when we signed the cheque after a meal in a restaurant. We were told to “have a nice day”.  What on earth could be wrong with that? It is a warm send off and the message is spot on.  Surely it is no different to signing off an email with “Take care” or even “Yours sincerely”.


However, the effectiveness of "have a nice day" in generating high scores for great customer experience can vary. While the phrase is generally polite and positive, customer experience is complex and goes beyond a simple farewell. Several factors contribute to a positive customer experience, and using a generic phrase alone may not be sufficient to ensure high scores.  Delivering great customer experience is full of subtleties and there are plenty surrounding “have a nice day”. We will take a look at some of them.


Consistency with Overall Service: If someone says “have a nice day” it needs to align with the overall customer service experience. If a customer has had a positive and helpful interaction with a business, a polite farewell like "have a nice day" can contribute to a positive overall impression. However, if things haven’t gone well, the “have a nice day” instruction may feel like a slap on the cheek.


Genuine Engagement: Customers appreciate sincerity and genuine interactions. If the farewell is delivered with authenticity and a true desire for the customer to have a nice rest of their day, it is more likely to be well-received. As always, it is not just what you say, but how you say it.  In the wrong tone, “have a nice day” may seem cold and calculating.  Some waiters may be more honest to say “give me a generous tip”. While the intention behind "have a nice day" is positive, some people may find it presumptive The customer might be going through a challenging time in their business or domestic life and making such a farewell could stir the undercurrent of sad emotional feelings.


Personalisation: Personalised interactions, including personalised farewells, can enhance the customer experience. If the farewell is tailored to the specific context of the interaction or the customer's preferences, it can leave a lasting and positive impression. Again, we have to be careful.  The use of someone’s name can show engagement and personal interest. Equally, the overuse of someone’s name may seem sycophantic.


Variety and Creativity: The problem with “have a nice day” is that it has been used forever. The phrase is used so routinely it has lost some of its impact and sincerity. If every customer receives the same generic farewell, it can fail to leave a lasting impression or differentiate the business from any others.


Understanding Customer Needs: If there is a genuine understanding of a customer’s needs, the farewell may be better referring to that.  “I really hope you can sort out that problem you told me about” may seem more genuine than “have a nice day”.


Cultural Differences: In some cultures, expressing good wishes can be more elaborate or specific than a simple "have a nice day." Understanding and respecting cultural nuances is crucial in providing excellent customer service. While "have a nice day" is commonly used in the United States, it may not be as prevalent in certain European cultures. In places where a more reserved or formal approach to language is valued, "have a nice day" might seem overly informal. In East Asian countries like Japan, China, and Korea, expressing wishes for a specific time of day or using more elaborate and context-specific expressions is common. A generic phrase like "have a nice day" might feel too casual or unfamiliar in these cultural contexts.


To enhance customer experience, we should remember to focus on creating genuine connections, actively listening to customer needs, and tailoring interactions to match the individual's preferences. Using more specific and personalised expressions can contribute to a more positive and memorable customer experience.


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