Like it or not, emojis are now commonplace in our everyday interactions.
These graphic symbols (whether a happy/angry/tired/confused face, a hand gesture, a symbol…) fill in emotional cues that may otherwise be missing in typed conversations.
They are most commonly seen in text messages, on social media, and, in more and more cases, on web pages.
So why not use them in your interactions with customers too?
What are the most commonly used emojis?
Depending on the country you’re in, some emojis may have very different interpretations.
For example, in many Western cultures, the 🙏🏼 emoji symbolises either a high-five or someone praying.
However, in Japan (from where emojis originated), this represents "please" or "thank you", in line with the local culture.
Generally speaking, however, the most commonly used emojis are easy to understand. This is because they represent basic emotions.
Here are some examples.
😂 - Laughing, with tears of joy ❤️ - Love 🙄 - Eye roll 👍🏼 - Thumbs up 👎🏻 - Thumbs down 💪🏼 - Strength and power 😭 - Crying, with sadness 😁 - Smiling 😔 - Sad face 👋🏻 - Waving hello/goodbye
What are the benefits of using emojis with your customers?
The use of emojis, when done in moderation and at appropriate moments, and have multiple benefits. Here are just some of them…
Emojis help to convey tone without words
We’ve all been there.
Misunderstandings often happen by text message; this is because it’s often difficult to gauge tone from text alone. Here, emojis can help with that.
A cheeky face can show a sense of humour while a sad face can show that you’re taking someone’s issue seriously.
Make the client feel like they’re talking to a real person
Real people use emojis, so why shouldn’t customer support agents?
Clients want to speak to a human being, not a robot.
Helps the agent comes across as genuine
If as a customer you feel like you’re speaking to someone who is being genuine, it will help soften up the relationship.
Even if they can’t help you immediately, knowing that the agent is making their best efforts to help you will increase customer satisfaction in the long run.
5 rules for using emojis with customers
While using emojis can have many benefits in interactions with customers, there are a few important rules to follow to ensure that they are received well.
1) Only use simple emojis
Can you honestly say with 100% certainty what these emojis mean? 🥴🧐😵🙌🙆♀️
It’s important not to confuse your clients. That’s why you should stick to using straightforward emojis which signal simple emotions.
Avoid adding extra and unnecessary layers of emotion. You don’t want your communications to be misinterpreted.
2) Don’t overuse emojis
Excessive use of emojis can be offputting. Using too many can make your organisation come across as childish or unprofessional.
3) Read the room first before using them
Before using emojis, think about whom you’re talking to.
If they address you formally, you should match their tone (and therefore avoid using emojis). Likewise, if they are seniors, it may be wise not to stick to the normal smiley only.
Ultimately, you should always aim to mirror who you’re talking to in formality and tone and respond to their reactions accordingly.
4) Don’t use them with a customer who’s really annoyed
If you’re faced with a customer who’s very irritated by your company or the service they have received, it’s best not to use emojis when communicating with them.
Using them could risk making it appear that you consider their complaint trivial or that you’re not taking them seriously.
5) When in doubt, avoid using them altogether
If, once you’ve considered all of the above, you’re unsure about whether you should use emojis, don’t use them at all.
Again, confusing your customers is the last thing that you want to do.
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