I can’t recall where I first heard the saying “Smile, it’s part of the uniform”, but it certainly stuck. It sounds obvious for any person in a role that involves interacting with customers to have a smile on their face however, this simple yet powerful social skill is often overlooked.
You don’t realise the impact a smile has on a customer until you’ve been on the other end of an unsmiling employee. In fact, over the last few week’s I have experienced grim-faced service staff on several occasions; in a retail variety store, a food outlet and a printing service. On each occasion, it was apparent the person assisting me disliked their job and didn’t particularly enjoy serving customers. I found myself feeling unwelcome and generally uncomfortable. I couldn’t wait for the experience to be over and I certainly don’t have any desire to return to these businesses.
Facial expression has a big influence on the overall message communicated to a customer. When a person is smiling, a customer is more likely to perceive them as friendly and helpful. It can also create a warm and welcoming environment.
A smile communicates the person’s enthusiasm and positive outlook on their role and on the business in general. On the other hand, when an employee looks miserable, it can be interpreted by the customer as disenchantment, disapproval and even disgust. A customer should never feel this way.
The phone should also be answered with a smile on the persons face as it changes the tone and inflection of their voice, making them sound more friendly and personable.
Of course there is a real smile and a fake smile. While a genuine smile that radiates in one’s eyes is preferred, research shows with both a real and fake smile, the brain still releases ‘happy chemicals’ or Endorphins therefore, even a smile that is intentional can have a positive and uplifting effect on the person forcing the smile.
Customers easily pick up on the atmosphere of a store or business. They can sense when there is a gloomy vibe. Alternatively, they can sense when the vibe is upbeat and positive. Facial expressions are a major contributor to establishing this positive atmosphere.
A smile should always be part of the uniform. If an employee doesn’t have a smile on their face, quite simply they are not dressed for work.
If ever I receive poor service in a retail business, I walk away, making a conscious choice not to purchase and swear never return again. I am adamant, I will not tolerate being treated poorly when I am paying good money for a product or service. However, there is one type of business which I am ashamed to say I have more than once accepted less than mediocre service and that’s in a nail salon.
I am positive I’m not the only one who feels this way, who struggles to comprehend how we continually accept the poor service we regularly receive when visiting these establishments. Time and time again, we let our dissatisfaction go unmentioned and have even been known to reluctantly return to the same place only to be disappointed again.
It seems we have become to expect a certain level of service within the nail salon industry. It starts when we first walk through door, when an annoyed acknowledgement is yelled at us from across the other side of the shop. Our experience proceeds with sometimes minimal communication or explanation of the service we are interested in and we are rushed to make a decision based on little information or understanding. We have been known to leave the premises not one hundred percent happy with our final result due to the quick, lacklustre and anything but thorough job. On the occasion we do work up the courage to query or complain, we are too often made to feel as if it’s our own fault, with no offer to rectify our displeasure and ensure we leave a satisfied customer.
With this substandard experience still in mind, the next time we look for that manicure, pedicure or polish, we decide on another location only to endure a similar experience. We soon realise this is the norm within the industry and we’ve become conditioned to accept it.
Although I am a campaigner for quality customer service, I too have become to accept this substandard level of service within the industry. I am however an optimist and hope one day I will find a nail salon that will go against the trend.
It certainly wouldn’t be difficult to differentiate oneself in this industry, by offering customers something a bit little different and improved on what customers have come to expect. This is the case in any retail business today, with customer service regularly below average. It isn’t hard these days to stand out from the crowd and begin creating a positive service reputation for the business and the industry.